Julie Meyer, the American businesswoman at the centre of a growing credit crisis, insists that her investment firm Ariadne Capital is still liquid.
Ariadne Capital Group is shackled by a garnishee order for €59,600 issued at the request of a Naxxar firm. Its subsidiary, Ariadne Capital Malta, has been left with only one director – Ms Meyer herself. David Barry and Joseph R. Aquilina resigned from the board in the past two months and the official forms submitted to the Malta Financial Services Authority do not say why.
“I have invested €1.5 million in the country,” Ms Meyer said, adding: “I am on Team Malta… My reputation is not being hurt by this negative press on Ariadne; Malta’s is.”
She told the Times of Malta she was not being investigated by the MFSA and the company had “plenty of directors” listed on its website. The group website shows Ms Meyer and Mark Schneider as directors. Three others are listed as “directors designate”. Documents filed at the Company Registry indicate Ms Meyer is the only remaining director of the licensed Ariadne Capital Malta.
Ariadne Capital Malta was the name given to Portcullis Asset Management after it was acquired by the group. Ms Meyer said the directors had “run their business into the ground” and “seemed to profoundly dislike each other”.
“Portcullis had a virus, and I was intent on not letting its ghosts become part of Ariadne,” she said. “We should not have kept the directors of a failed business that we acquired.”
Some ex-employees claim they are still owed payments by the company. A request was made last July to the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations over unpaid wages and benefits. The case is still pending.
In a court application, another employee said he was owed three months’ wages, and an events company has filed a legal letter seeking €7,500 it says is due for an activity in July.
Ms Meyer said Ariadne Capital did not bank in Malta due to the “medieval, ‘guilty-until-proven-innocent’ approach” of the garnishee order system
Other claims are being drawn up, according to sources familiar with the situation, and the British press has reported on other cases in the UK, where Ariadne Capital was headquartered until Ms Meyer moved it here. The Trafalgar Square premises she used in London are now up for sale, and the UK company is registered at a post office box number.
Ms Meyer said the Naxxar company that applied for the garnishee order was “insolvent”, accusing it of overcharging her firm and “fleecing the foreigner”.
According to accounts filed with the Company Register, the Naxxar company made a profit of over €75,000 last year.
When contacted, a spokesman said the Naxxar company had signed terms of business along with a signed quote for the initial work along with confirmation of its daily and hourly rates. No other details were given, as the case is still before the court.
Ms Meyer said Ariadne Capital did not bank in Malta due to the “medieval, ‘guilty-until-proven-innocent’ approach” of the garnishee order system. High-net-worth individuals and investors would “think twice” about putting their money in Malta if they were aware of it, she said.