Northern Irish broker Cranford Consultants has bought Laing & Co's entire book of business for an undisclosed sum.

Cranford Consultants managing director Julie Gallagher said the company was not "in any way" connected to Laing & Co.

Earlier this year, Laing & Co sued Preston Whiteside for £1.17m.

Laing & Co obtained judgment against Preston Whiteside and an order for an interim payment of £160,000 was made by the High Court. The payment was to be paid in four monthly instalments.

This week, Laing & Co's lawyer Peter Ellingham said: "These payments have now stopped and Laing & Co is looking to pursue other parties in its attempts to recover monies."

A source close to Laing & Co said the broker's professional indemnity (PI) insurers were close to making payment to Laing & Co clients, who did not have cover in place as a result of alleged false invoices received from Preston Whiteside.

In its High Court claim earlier this year, Laing & Co said that between January 2002 and 31 December 2002 it paid £1.17m in premiums to Preston Whiteside. But Laing & Co alleges Preston Whiteside failed to obtain insurance cover in respect of the premiums paid.