The High Court has issued an arrest warrant for Julie Meyer, the founder and CEO of Swiss investment fund Viva Investment Partners (VIP), after she failed to attend a court hearing last week.
The decision to issue a warrant for Meyer’s arrest comes after the High Court this month handed the high-profile businesswoman a six-month suspended sentence, following a dispute with the Royal Family’s go-to law firm, Farrer & Co, over almost £200,000 in unpaid solicitors’ fees.
The sentence was handed down after the Swiss-American venture capitalist failed to hand over financial documents and refused to attend multiple court hearings, as she claimed she was unable to travel to the UK from her home in Switzerland due to having conjunctivitis and not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
City A.M. understands the courts have now issued a warrant for Meyer’s arrest, after she failed to attend a hearing on 14 February, despite being ordered by the High Court to attend the hearing in person.
Speaking to City A.M. Meyer said she is unable to comply with the High Court’s order to hand over financial documents, as doing so would cause her to breach Swiss laws.
“The disclosure that the UK courts have required of me are not allowed in Switzerland, and we have had very clear Swiss legal advice that we should not comply because we would be breaching Swiss law,” Meyer told City A.M.
Contempt of Court
The arrest warrant comes after Meyer was handed a six-month suspended sentence for contempt of court, after she failed to hand over documents and repeatedly failed to attend hearings.
The High Court ruled that Meyer’s medical evidence did not support her claims that she could not attend in person, as it found her guilty of contempt of court for refusing to attend hearings and failing to hand over the documents.
In a ruling earlier this month, High Court judge Mr Justice Kerr said Meyer had been “cynical” in breaching the High Court’s orders, as he claimed the proceedings had shown her “to be a selfish and untrustworthy person.”
“I am satisfied there is every prospect that the defendant will continue to flout orders of the court unless coerced into obeying them,” the Judge said, as he claimed that it is “necessary” to show “the court is not to be trifled with.”
In handing the entrepreneur a six-month suspended sentence, Mr Justice Kerr added that some of the evidence filed on Meyer’s behalf sought to make out that Meyer is “too important for the courts of England and Wales to take precedent over her other interests.”
He claimed that rather than taking it as mitigation, he simply viewed Meyer’s defence as another “aggravating feature of the contempt.”
Farrer & Co
The suspended sentence came after Meyer failed to pay £197,000 in solicitors fees to Farrer & Co partner Julian Pike, and later refused to come to court as she instead demanded that she be allowed to tune into hearings remotely.
Meyer, a serial entrepreneur from California, claimed that Farrer & Co had only carried out five months’ worth of work, and that the firm had provided a poor standard of service, as she argued she should only have to pay the law firm £50,000 for their services.
Writing to City A.M. Meyer said “Farrer & Co has abused their privileged position as ‘the Queen’s lawyers’” as she claimed the London law firm had “avoided any normal scrutiny of invoices.”
Meyer added that Farrer & Co had repeatedly sent their invoices to the wrong address, as she said the firm then tried to “bully” her into “disclosing information that is illegal.” Meyer also claimed that Farrer & Co’s invoices did not include details of “work that was inadequate,”
The fee dispute comes after London law firm Farrer & Co – the centuries old law firm which has built its reputation for acting on behalf of Britain’s Royal Family – represented Meyer in Maltese courts, in a legal dispute over unpaid wages.
Meyer claimed that Farrer & Co’s “approach has been to harass me and my firm” as she said she would be “appealing the various Orders which have led to this situation.”
Farrer & Co have been approached for comment.