Swiss venture capitalists who invested in a collapsed law firm stand to lose more than £3.5m, it has emerged.
An administrator’s report on Liverpool firm First Stop Legal Services (trading as GT Law) has outlined the losses likely to be suffered by creditors.
The firm went into administration last October after a failed group litigation and costly civil litigation reforms.
Administrator Quantuma confirmed Switzerland-based HTG Ventures Limited was owed almost £4m on its appointment, the investor having renewed its loan facility as recently as February 2015.
The progress report confirmed HTG Ventures is a secured creditor but said it stands to recover just 12% (£486,000) of the outstanding debt.
Unsecured creditors, who have collectively made claims worth around £580,000, stand to recover just 14.4p in the pound.
The report noted that some claims are far higher than first anticipated, including that of HM Revenue and Customs, which is owed almost £300,000.
The report states that the director, Gordon Tucker, is indebted to the company in the amount of £264,000 in respect of his overdrawn directors’ loan account (DLA).
Tucker has advised that he does not have the means to repay any of this debt, which has been confirmed following disclosure of details of his personal financial position.
The report adds: ‘It is apparent, upon review of his personal finances questionnaire, that the director is not presently able to make any payments against his overdrawn DLA and the administrators therefore do not intend to undertake any further reconciliation of the DLA as it would not be cost-effective.’
Around £126,000 has been received from three firms that acquired client files, with estimated realisations of £950,000 from those cases. The three are IC Law Solicitors, Pilkington Shaw Solicitors and Neumans LLP.
All files relating to group claims for the Sonae and Mau Mau actions were assigned to IC Law Solicitors. GT Law will receive a pre-defined percentage of any recoveries resulting from the success of these actions.
The firm was referred to the SRA in August by Mr Justice Jay following the High Court’s dismissal of 20 test cases involving people living near the Sonae chipboard-plant (pictured) fire in Kirkby, Merseyside in 2011.
GT Law operated from offices in Liverpool and Manchester and as of February 2014 employed 113 staff.
According to accounts for the year ended 28 February 2014, GT Law increased turnover in the year from £7.45m to £7.94m. Profit before tax fell from £255,000 to £179,000.