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The High Court has made a £1.07m bankruptcy order against Pragnesh Modhwadia, the former chief of Axiom Ince.

The order was approved at the Insolvency and Companies Court, against Modhwadia, due to his failure to make payments for the now defunct firm

The administrators for the various Ince Gordon Dadds entities had filed a bankruptcy petition against Modhwadia, with creditors alleging that the ex-boss is liable for the failed payments for the IGD parties totalling £173k. Creditors also claimed that the non-payments have led to further instalments falling due, totalling £900k.

The application made for IGD was unopposed as Modhwadia did not show up, City AM reported. It was noted at the hearing that Modhwadia had told IGD's solicitors, Pinsent Masons, that he had been unable to make sufficient progress with the preparation of a proposal for an individual voluntary arrangement, as access to his financial information and documents had been hampered, due to other proceedings against him.

Axiom Ince collapsed last year, after a £65m black hole was discovered in its client account. The SRA intervened into Modhwadia's practice, and the firm obtained a freezing order over his assets. 

Jim Varley, partner at Devonshires, instructed by the administrators of Axiom Ince, told RollOnFriday: “The bankruptcy of Pragnesh Modhwadia is a significant step in this ongoing saga. Hundreds of clients of Axiom Ince lost large sums of money which has deeply affected their lives. While the bankruptcy order against Pragnesh Modhwadia will not of itself bring their money back, we hope it offers them some comfort that action is being taken.”

Although, at least Modhwadia didn't nick a sandwich, or he'd have been in REAL trouble

Axiom Ince's case against Modhwadia in the High Court, alleges that he doctored a letter to give the impression that £57 million missing from Axiom’s Barclays client account was resting safely in accounts at the State Bank of India, when in fact the the bank had no such client deposit accounts. 

The fall-out might end up costing every solicitor in England and Wales hundreds of pounds each, after the SRA admitted last year that it would struggle to plug the huge hole in Axiom Ince's accounts. The SRA previously confirmed that its Compensation Fund contained £18m, which would not suffice given the size of the Axiom Ince disaster.

Modhwadia claimed that almost all the money had been spent on buying up other firms and purchasing and renovating properties. Videos passed to ROF, showed the hard partying lawyer, swigging champagne just days before the regulator suspended him, and others. 

The Serious Fraud Office has also launched a criminal investigation over suspected fraud at Axiom Ince, although the SFO has not confirmed the identities of the people subject to the investigation.

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Anon 24 May 24 07:58

Someone’s getting off lightly. Have a feeling this one will end up with a slap on the wrist and a measly cost order. Utter shambles 

Anonymous 24 May 24 08:03

Well, he's not in prison because the SFO are still investigating, and once they're done investigating, they will have messed up things to the point where he'll walk away from it all as a free man.


Do I sound jaded? That's because I am.

Uneven justice 24 May 24 09:49

Imagine instead if he had been a junior lawyer who added his signature as a witness to a document out of  50 that were being witnessed, but where he pops back into the meeting room after a quick trip to the bathroom and wasn’t actually there for when that one document out of the 50 was signed. And he later admits his mistake and apologises and no harm done. The SRA would have been all over him trying to get him struck off and disgraced and would have written submissions to the SDT about the moral outrage of this disgraceful behaviour and how his career should now end and his reputation be forever trashed. But a sophisticated, highly manipulative fraud perpetrated by a senior lawyer over long periods of time under their noses and where the damage is huge. Well, hang on and slow down, say the SRA. We are not convinced. Is this really that bad? 

Lydia 24 May 24 12:00

The SRA should exercise their right to cap compensation claims here and not make the profession pay. They should also consider if they really want these kind of complex law firm take overs to take place at all. I did not even support and do not support alternative business structures. We should return to simpler structures for firms of solicitors and stop these kinds of complex things., Also the Ince partners presumably made a lot of money when they sold out to Axiom - all those sums should be recovered before money is taken from solicitors.

Nightstalker 24 May 24 16:45

Last week we learned that a couple of the properties that Big Wad bought were subject to some kind of an order; apologies for not remembering precise details.  However, why aren't steps being actively taken to attach all of the properties bought so that ultimate they may be sold to realise funds to reimburse those Big Wad and his cronies stole?  Or am I missing something?

Agree with other posters that it appears that who ever is responsible for the criminal investigation seem to be dragging their heels.

Ghost of Gordon Dadds 25 May 24 07:30

@Lydia - You keep suggesting they did but, no, the Ince partners don’t make any money when the administrators sold the business.  The partners didn’t own the company, it was a PLC in administration, as this article states the money to buy the place wasn’t paid to the administrators anyway, which is why Prags has been made bankrupt.  Your constant suggestion that Ince partners, many of whom had a lot of money tied up in now worthless shares in The Ince Group Plc, somehow made a killing on this sale is ludicrous and insulting.  Many were at fault in many ways but none made any money out of this fiasco.  No one (save the administrators and Prags) appears to have made any money out of this fiasco.

anon 25 May 24 12:19

Another case in La La land. I am completely baffled as to how a person who steals money from the client account is not a fraud and a criminal offence. Producing false documents involving the missing money is also a fraud. Have I missed something here, has the law changed to allow these events to occur and why has Prags not been arrested. 

I think there needs to be a public inquiry to find out who is responsible for failing to deal with this matter and why the failure to take any action within a reasonable timeframe has occurred. Are they waiting for Prags to leave the country first ? 

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