London practitioner hit by u100,000 claim over visa

DEFUNCT south London partnership Graham Peries & Co has received another writ from a former client who claims the firm owes her almost u100,000 after it failed to return money lodged in support of a visa application.

The firm, which has other cases pending against it, was last week also ordered to pay $69,979 to a former client.

One of its two founding partners, Hemamali Graham, is also set to be sentenced in the Inner London Crown Court this week after being found guilty of charges relating to mortgage fraud.

Bolt Burdon solicitor Graham Balchin, who issued the writ on behalf of Harjit Kaur, last month obtained an Anton Piller order from the High Court allowing lawyers to enter and search the offices, homes and accountancy offices of Graham and her former partner Indrani Peries.

Balchin says client files and other documents were seized during the searches, which he applied for following difficulties in obtaining documentation relating to another case (The Lawyer, 30 August 1994).

Both Kaur and Balchin's other client, Anand Tripathi, claim that they lodged money and passports with Graham Peries – neither of which have been returned.

Kaur alleges a u50,000 cheque was given to the firm on 17 June 1992, followed by another cheque for u21,000 and a telegraphic transfer of u28,000 paid in September the following year. She says she requested the return of the money in April 1994, and on a number of subsequent occasions.

Graham and Peries, who were unavailable for comment, dissolved their partnership in March 1994 and set up as sole practitioners. Both have served notice of intention to defend the Kaur writ, and defences are due this week.