'I know what you did last summer.'

An officer of Axiom Ince has accused senior figures of the defunct firm of backdating client care letters, taking luxurious work jollys and receiving secret payments.

‘Officer X’ made the allegations in a formal grievance letter he sent to the directors in September. Ostensibly a demand for his overdue August paycheque, the leaked letter reveals how recriminations intensified as the scale of the firm's difficulties dawned on senior staff.

Axiom Ince collapsed later that month when the SRA intervened amid allegations that its hard-partying founder and Managing Partner, Pragnesh Modhwadia, had frittered away an eye-watering £66m from the client account, for which all solicitors may now be liable.

The Serious Fraud Office made seven arrests when it launched its investigation into possible criminality in November.

Officer X is alleged to have been one of the individuals who was taken into custody as part of the SFO investigation, but he did not reply to ROF’s request for comment.

In his grievance, Officer X accused the directors of withholding the payment of salaries to employees they had placed on a blacklist, and him specifically.

“I have checked my bank account and note that my salary has not been paid”, complained Officer X, who threatened to sue the firm for unlawful deduction of wages if he wasn’t paid by the end of the day.

“I implore the directors of Axiom not to make this personal. You are criminalising innocent people due to one person's misdemeanors. The situation is devastating and we are all suffering because of Pragnesh's conduct”, he wrote.

In an apparent attempt to show the directors that he knew where the bodies were buried, Officer X laid out a series of allegations about the behaviour of his colleagues. 

He accused one boss of backdating client care letters and attempting to charge "extortionate" fees from clients, including the parents of Axiom Ince Chief Technical Officer Rupesh Karawadra. “How low can you go?!” asked Officer X.

“I understand [the person] is putting all files in his name to claim a WIP value to sell on to another firm and accept 50% payment terms upfront”, he said.

Officer X accused other unnamed senior figures of:

  • “enjoying lavish ‘work’ holidays” in Greece, Cyprus, France and Monaco incorporating helicopter flights at Axiom Ince's expense with what “we now know to be misappropriated client funds”,
  • “taking goodwill payments for the purchase of their acquired firms and not telling their fellow former partners of the secret payment they received”, and
  • “taking bonus/salary payments into third party companies to avoid paying the correct taxes”.*

Officer X told the directors he hoped his charge sheet “may assist you and the independent external investigators [to] focus efforts when tracing money back to each and every person or entity who has benefitted from the misappropriated funds”.

Indicating that he thought the directors had wrongfully suspected him of criminality, Officer X said, “I am deeply disappointed that the remaining directors have formed an opinion and made judgments without allowing investigations to follow the due process”.

“Please do not discriminate, judge or tarnish the lives of innocent individuals based on ill informed assumptions, without ascertaining the facts and being misdirected by Directors who have their own agendas and position to protect for financial gain”, he added.

Meanwhile, one Axiom Ince director has impressed onlookers with his prophetic four-year-old post on LinkedIn.

“’A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns’ - The Godfather”, wrote Daniel Gleek with impressive foresight. 


“This cinematic reference seemed to raise smiles on many faces ”, he said. The theme from the gangster epic was later played at Modhwadia's lavish party to celebrate Axiom's doomed acquisition of Ince.

Gleek’s LinkedIn says it all, in which a post celebrating the purchase of Ince and "the next exciting chapter" is followed by an announcement of his departure to a new firm, Jury O'Shea, after it all went terribly wrong.


Thinzar Thaung, a partner at Jury O'Shea, told ROF "for the avoidance of any doubt Daniel Gleek is not one of the individuals reported to have been arrested and it would be inappropriate to make any suggestion or inference that he or any of the other former members of Axiom employed by Jury O’Shea form part of the police investigation". Gleek was also not named in Officer X's letter.

Asked if it was aware of the grievance, a spokesperson for the SRA said “We cannot discuss such details while our investigation is on-going".

Devonshires, which is acting for Axiom Ince in its case against Modhwadia, declined to comment.

*The letter did not contain the excellent rumour that one director tapped Axiom to pay for his wedding caterers.


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Hang on... 15 December 23 08:45

... Officer X, so you were in a position of authority, knew all of this was going on and you didn't report any of it to the SRA? This has the potential to backfire on him very badly indeed.

Anon 15 December 23 09:01

Officer X may just have opened a brand new chapter. I wonder which Ince people got paid for acquisitions AHEM AHEM COUGH COUGH

Officer x is The greatest 15 December 23 09:32

I can’t imagine anyone was excluded from payroll just for fun. You can only pay people needed for the continued benefit of creditors, clearly this numpty wasn’t working.

Also there aren’t many parts of the firm who would have access to all of this info and would have been an officer?

@09:32 15 December 23 10:26

This was a letter from September in relation to August pay.

AxiomInce was put into administration on 3 October - so the letter and non-payment of salary pre-dates that obligations under the administration process.

Might not be him that's the numpty!

@ 10.26 15 December 23 10:37

You clearly don’t understand the process pre-admin when you are trading for the benefit of creditors. At that point you cannot pay anyone (staff or otherwise) unless it’s in the best interests of creditors. Your fiduciary duties switch to all creditors the moment you believe the business will not return their funds in full. Sadly for any employee not fundamental to a process (and if you’re arrested subsequently you probably aren’t) and maximising all creditor returns (not yours), paying you could be considered a preference so the directors can’t.

Also @10.26 15 December 23 10:59

You are also even less likely as an officer to be paid in that scenario. You would be in conflict with your own fiduciary obligations to all creditors.

Not a nice place to be!

Den of thieves ! 15 December 23 13:46

Jury O’Shea must be brave to take on these original Axiom (not Ince) directors and large number of ex-Axiom lawyers !

Officer X 15 December 23 14:23

I think everyone who was there knows who this chairming individual is - and it is absolutely characteristic of him to try to throw his colleagues under a bus and deflect blame from himself, whilst inadvertently shooting himself in the foot.

Godfather of Axiom 15 December 23 14:41

Jury O'Shea is a successor practice of Axiom DWFM incorporating another failed firm Phillip Ross. They have taken on 40 odd ex-directors, solicitors and legal assistants of Axiom DWFM incorporating PR. JOS should pay the liabilities of Axiom to the clients and third party service providers!

Lydia 15 December 23 18:14

There are some terrible things there - eg monies paid into other companies to evade tax as if these lawyers (the ones breaching the law() had not a care in the world about obeying the law.

@15 December 23 15:04 16 December 23 11:31

@15 December 23 15:04

More like floats like a bee and stings like a butterfly……

Anon 17 December 23 20:02

@ Godfather of Axiom

Companies house search shows Gleek now at Jury O’Shea is a coowner of a property company with modhwadia !

Anon 21 December 23 13:37

The lesson learned by me. NEVER ever work for any law firm again. Back to investment banking where by comparison MOST employees are honest.

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