VENTURE capitalist Julie Meyer was under further fire this evening as a host of previous business contacts alleged “gross, willful, and unethical” behaviour over a number of years.
The High Court earlier this week issued an arrest warrant for Meyer after she failed to attend a hearing over a disputed £197,000 legal bill from Farrer and Co.
But City A.M. has now been contacted by further businesspeople who allege Meyer has a “pattern” of evading payments.
Speaking to City A.M. Mark Lightfoot, the founder and CEO of Mangion & Lightfoot, said the reports of Meyer’s dealings with Farrer & Co mirrored his own experiences with the venture capitalist, as he claimed the tactics Meyer used to avoid paying his firm come straight out of Meyer’s playbook.
Lightfoot told City A.M. that Meyer’s dispute with Farrer & Co sits in line with a “pattern” of the businesswoman’s previous behaviour, as he claimed Meyer has travelled throughout Europe – to countries including Malta, Croatia, Greece, and Switzerland – leaving a trail of unpaid bills behind her.
“She came to Malta and duped everybody. She did the same thing in Croatia, and then when that didn’t work out, she went on to Greece,” Lightfoot said. “In Malta, she screwed over countless business people.”
Speaking to City A.M. one source, who worked closely with Meyer during her time in Malta, said the entrepreneur would convince people to invest in her businesses and, as he explained, Meyer would use the investor’s payments to fund her lifestyle, while only paying the salaries of those she deemed important”
The source claimed Meyer convinced a string of politicians and high-profile businessmen to invest in her endeavours.
An email sent by a former business partner of Meyer to friends last year said that he had resigned as Chairman of VIVA Investment Partners – Meyer’s equity fund – due to Meyer’s behaviour.
“I learned through direct, personal association that the risks of any business association with Julie Meyer are in fact far greater than any potential rewards. Her reputation is earned and well-deserved,” wrote Rene Eichenberger.
Lightfoot claims that part of the reason Meyer has succeeded in her ventures is due to the fact that many of those who have been “hoodwinked” by the entrepreneur choose to take the financial hit, rather than suffer the reputational damage that would come about by making their dealings with Meyer public.
One investor told City A.M. that in many cases, the legal costs of pursuing Meyer, and seeking to reclaim any losses through the courts, ends up being more costly than any money lost to the businesswoman through any initial investment.
Sources speaking to City A.M. also said Meyer had asked them to sign non-disclosure agreements, as they claimed the contracts Meyer’s former employees signed have prevented them from speaking in public.Julie Meyer has told City A.M. that Rene Eichenberger left VIVA over a year ago and that “he has an agenda to damage the firm, and is hostile to us which is why he is gone”.
She said: “I don’t remember Mark Lightfoot I’ve been in business for 30 years, and don’t always remember names.” She also said “we always pay people their salaries.”