IN November, 2016, The Bolton News reported Asons Solicitors had received a grant from Bolton Council of £300,000. 

This grant was given to the private company, based in Churchgate, using the council’s emergency powers to carry out refurbishment work

At the time council leader Cliff Morris said the grant would enable a company that employs 400-500 people to stay in the town centre and make the £1.1 million building fit for purpose. 

READ MORE: Tories press on with demand for fresh inquiry into Asons affair

The grant was given in secret and became public knowledge when minutes of a private meeting were shown to The Bolton News, revealing that the then director of place, Stephen Young, and then council leader Cllr Cliff Morris agreed the grant. 

In December that year, Cllr Morris announced external auditors KPMG would look into the decision to award the money to Asons and in September, 2017, the findings were released. 
KPMG found that the council’s decision to award the grant was legal and appropriate but criticised the council’s lack of documentation for using its emergency powers. 

In March this year one of Asons’ founders, Kamran Akram, had his licence suspended and the firm was shut by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

The week before Asons had been bought by Coops Law which led to the £300,000 grant being repaid to the council. 

Coops Law ceased trading in June when it too was closed by the SRA. 

This year, Kamran Akram was suspended from acting as a solicitor for 18 months after a hearing by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.