Updated with Julie Meyer comment at 3.10pm
Updated with MFSA reply at 5.15pm
The UK company Ariadne Capital run by entrepreneurship guru Julie Meyer has been out into the hands of administrators, just weeks after she insisted it was ‘liquid’ in spite of mounting debts, according to a letter sent to her creditors in the UK.
Business Insider’s online magazine said that Ariadne Capital’s creditors were informed that Leonard Curtis, one of the largest independent firms in the UK specialising in corporate recovery, insolvency and business restructuring, took it into administration on December 15.
When contacted, Ms Meyer played down the development, telling the Times of Malta: "It had always been the intention of Ariadne Capital Group Limited (ACGL) our top co/ holding company to acquire Ariadne Capital Limited (London/ ACL) as a going concern not an asset sale. The actions of the former MD caused me as the secured creditor to appoint an administrator for ACL. There is no implication for Malta. The centre of gravity of Ariadne shifted away from London 18 months ago."
Times of Malta recently reported that she was been sued by a company in Malta for unpaid bills, as well as being pursued by employees – both in Malta and from her operation in the UK – who had not received their wages.
Ms Meyer first came to Malta as a speaker at the Finance Malta conference in 2016 but soon moved into a suite at the Westin Dragonara which she maintained day-in, day-out as her base for her frequent visits to the island. In December, the UK-based Ariadne Capital bought a start-up asset management company, Portcullis, which had as yet no assets, and with it managed to pass the MFSA’s fit and proper test, ‘inheriting’ its category 2 licence.
Ms Meyer moved into a suite at the Westin which she maintained day-in, day-out as her base for her frequent visits to the island
She organised a number of events, encouraging local and foreign investors to put money into her fund, culminating in July with Follow the Entrepreneur Summit at the Westin. Times of Malta had spoken to numerous companies which said they were still awaiting payment for their services relating to the conference, with only one so far seeking court redress.
Another worrying sign was the resignations in September and then November of two directors in Ariadne Capital Malta, as Portcullis had been renamed – leaving only Ms Meyer as director, in breach of MFSA rules.
Asked to comment, the MFSA stressed that the authority was not in a position to divulge any confidential information on its licence holders or their related parties.
"That said, the authority remains committed to protect the general interests of any current or prospective investors and the general public in terms of law," it wrote. "The authority's review of the conduct of Ariadne Capital Malta Ltd as part of its regulatory process remains on-going."
Ms Meyer insisted with the Times of Malta that Ariadne Capital was “still liquid” and that she had invested €1.5 million in Malta. She told the British Telegraph that Ariadne Capital had just completed a £7.5m funding round.
However, Ariadne Capital moved out of its offices in Trafalgar and was operating with a PO Box number.
It then emerged that Ms Meyer was also being sued by major law firm Clifford Chance in the UK over unpaid fees.
Meyer told the Telegraph that the payment had been delayed pending the acquisition of her London subsidiary by her Malta-based holding company. She said: "There was an understanding we would pay fees once the acquisition was done."
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