RollOnFriday can reveal that the Senior Partner of Child & Child, who was fined £45,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, has left the firm. And that the firm has gone bust and been bought up by five partners and a private equity investor.

The Westminster private client firm was hugely embarrassed when Khalid Sharif's lax approach to vetting clients was exposed in the Panama Papers scandal. Child & Child had undertaken work for the daughters of Azerbaijan's president, whose regime is suspected of being hugely corrupt. It wrongly stated in leaked records held by Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca that the women had no political connections. Sharif's due diligence failings, the SDT ruled in January, "led to a risk of large amounts of money being laundered".

Sharif has since left the firm and it has now been placed into administration, facilitating a management buyout.

But only one of those details has been promoted by the firm. On 1 July, its Twitter account announced that there was "Exciting news for Child & Child today". The exciting news wasn't the exit of its boss, however, or the firm's administration three days earlier, but the fact that "five of our Partners have taken over ownership of the firm". As has a private equity investor, Omni Captial, which has bought 20% of the firm's equity.


exciting

...PS we weren't a going concern for a tiny amount of time.


"Talking on the change of ownership", continued the firm on its website, "new equity partner Estelle Tague said, 'This is an exciting time for our clients'".

It certainly is, although they will have to hunt for any mention of administration on the site, or for the link to the page of FAQs which answers boring questions like, "What will happen to my file?", "Can I instruct another solicitor?" and "What will happen to any client money owed to me?"


chi

Keep walking...keep walking...you'll see it soon.


It's even less exciting for creditors, who are told, "You should not hesitate to contact the dedicated Joint Administrators team at Begbies Traynor".

A source close to the firm, which is now 'Allium Law Limited trading as Child & Child', said that it was only put into administration to crystallise its liabilities, in order to give the buyers certainty. The same argument was advanced in respect of Ince earlier this year after it was placed into a pre-pack administration and purchased by Gordon Dadds. While cynics might suggest that it actually represents a neat way to bilk creditors, a source close to Child & Child said that some unsecured creditors had already been repaid.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Gobblepig 12 July 19 08:41

Allium Law? "Allium" is the latin name for garlic and various onions. Interesting choice of name.... 

Artful Dodger 12 July 19 08:53

Not unexpected - child and child has been touted around for many months in a desperate attempt for someone to save them ! Basket case for some time 

Nova North 12 July 19 10:03

A company by the name of Thomas Simon Ltd has played a significant role in hoovering up the firm and that is an investment vehicle owned by Gordon Dadds. The giveaway is Allium Law has Gordon Dadds plus Adrian and John Biles as officers. Transparency would be helpful. 

 

 

Anonymous 12 July 19 10:06

Lol imagine thinking they have paid creditors!! They owe us money and we won’t be getting a penny! This is a pre-pack arranger by a PE Firm it’s an utter utter disgrace. They should be forced to pay the debts owed to all the creditors. They have brought the firm into administration on purpose. 

Jamie Hamilton 12 July 19 10:52

Nova: good spot. The firm’s spokesman has told me IGD only sold the partners the shell company, and that there is no other connection with IGD.

Part of me hopes he’s mistaken so we can use  ‘Dadd buys Child’ as a headline. 

Anonymous 12 July 19 11:10

This has Gordon Dadds MO written all over it, pre pack - shaft all creditors, cut staff etc...  Classy! The nerve to suggest that " Nothing will change in the day-to-day running of the firm". You have gone into Administration, I would suggest that will change the day to day running of the firm.

Why would clients want to retain the firms services in these circumstances?

Anonymous 12 July 2019 12 July 19 11:26

So where a company goes into liquidation and the debts of the company stay with the company, and a new company is set up with the same Directors, and all of the clients are transferred to the new company, then I understood that that was a phoenix fraud. The Government are supposed to be clamping down on Phoenix frauds, so how is this case any different ?

Are not the Directors liable for the debts to be struck off the roll. This then prevents them from carrying out a phoenix fraud. 

Somebody please explain why this is not a phoenix fraud

Anonymous 12 July 19 11:44

We have seen this all before, let’s be honest if you are a fee earner at Child & Child or whatever the fancy new name is you leave. Reputation of the firms is now trash and the new partners are funded by PE and allowing creditors to suffer. Get out while you can! 

SecularJurist 12 July 19 14:56

That's what is meant by 'professional enablers', as stated by the head of the SFO, a former FBI lawyer. 

Anonymous 12 July 19 14:57

Gordon Dadds’ MO - but why did they not do it via Ince Gordon Dadds? Either the shareholders have realized that they have botched the Ince acquisition and don’t want any more bright ideas on their tab or this is Biles’ moonlighting.

Private Client 12 July 19 15:20

Your article infers liability for the woes of Child & Child should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the departed senior partner, this is not true. Yes he made an error however, do your digging and you will find out your sensationalist paragraphs are yesterday's news and had no bearing on what actually happened to the firm. 

tell me more 12 July 19 15:27

No it doesn't, Private Client. It states he did a booboo, then he left, and then the firm went into administration to make things neat for an MBO. The story just states the firm's tribulations in chronological order. That's a fairly standard way of describing a sequence of events.

It's you who is inferring that the first thing that happened caused the rest, because it occurred first. Or do you know something we don't?

Anonymous 12 July 19 15:31

Implies, Mr Biles, not infers.

And you said the same thing about the ex SP of Ince. And then employed him.

Anonymous 13 July 19 07:57

Simple facts are we can all see why the New owners of this pre pack sorry takeover 😂 have done and it stinks for everyone to see. Look forward to watching the slow demise, it is called karma

Anonymous 13 July 19 10:48

To purposely bring the firm to administration to bilk creditors is a shameful and disgraceful act as lawyers that are supposed to act with integrity!

How can a firm like this be trusted? 

Anonymous 13 July 19 11:38

As an employee of Child & Child, we all know the real reasons the firm went into administration. We will all walk out, slowly but surely. Partners: You need the respect of your staff to retain them and you don’t have it.

Anonymous 13 July 19 13:59

The Twitter post is a joke. What exciting news? New management which consists of Mo Hakim who was part of the old management that brought the company into administration...

Anonymous 15 July 19 13:39

It’s all a bit tense here now, two sides operating in one office... somebody sound the divorce claxon!!!!!

Anonymous 16 July 19 16:36

I see people have left already, hope there are enough lifeboats for the sinking ship!!!

Anonymous 17 July 19 09:01

"....two sides operating in one office?" go if you don't like it, please go!  Do the rest of us a favour.

Anonymous 18 July 19 10:42

Unsurprising really. They made a name for themselves as a firm that didn't ask too many questions of their clients if you paid enough money.