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Julie Meyer bashes Malta as she announces pull-out

Told MFSA she was closing business two days before licence suspension

American businesswoman Julie Meyer has sent an e-mail to her investors and mailing list saying that she was pulling all her businesses out of Malta, taking the opportunity to bash the jurisdiction.

The e-mail describes the country as a "culture were everyone takes a cut out of anything that gets done", saying employment law was out of "Marxist Russia" and even that it is misogynist.

This is not the first time that Ms Meyer, at the centre of a credit crisis, has criticised Malta: in January, the entrepreneur who called herself part of ‘Team Malta’, announced she had decided not to domicile her fund in Malta, saying it was an “extremely difficult jurisdiction”.

Ms Meyer had told investors in June 2017 that her UK-based fund would be re-domiciled to Malta as a ‘notified alternative investment fund’. However, in the fund report for 2017 in January, she said this would not be achieved, adding “We have found Malta to be an exceedingly difficult jurisdiction in which to work.”

In her e-mail she also said that she had never experienced such “wild misogyny and jealousy in her life”.

Ms Meyer is currently embroiled in a number of court cases over unpaid bills and salaries. She is facing criminal proceedings over the latter and got into trouble with the magistrate after she e-mailed her directly.

The MFSA suspended her licence on May 11, citing multiple “serious breaches”.

TIMELINE 

May 2016
Julie Meyer was a speaker at the FinanceMalta conference. Within months, she started networking in Malta and decided to set up on the island as an alternative jurisdiction to Britain.

September 2016

She claims that the MFSA chairman hosted a dinner to introduce her to potential investors. MFSA chairman denies that it was in her honour, adding "it is normal practice for regulators to hold dinner/lunches with potential promoters".

November 2016
Her local start-up EntrepreneurCountryGlobal is sold to her Ariadne Capital’s ACE Fund for £4.5 million.

December 2016
Buys Portcullis Asset Management in Malta for around €30,000 and with it obtains an MFSA licence.

July 2017
Follow the Entrepreneur summit held in Malta, which she claims was one of the “the most successful investor summit, which we privately funded”.

November 2017
The first cracks appear as companies claim they were not paid for services associated with the summit. One gets the court to issue a garnishee order for €59,600. Ms Meyer claims they overcharged her and that they were bankrupt.

November 2017
A board member 'inherited' from Portcullis stepped down from Ariadne Capital Malta on September 6 and the chairman followed suit on November 2, leaving her as sole director. She insisted that the directors of Portcullis Asset Management “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 told the Times of Malta.

December 2017
She puts the UK company in the hands of administrators, claiming this was being done to rid herself of her former managing director, so that she could regain control of the company as the secured creditor. The administrator Leonard Curtis, however, said in its report of January that the company was under increasing creditor pressure, and that a winding up petition was filed by one of her creditors on November 3, with a hearing date set for December 18. She pre-empted this and approached the administrator on November 14.

January 2018
The MFSA confirms to the Times of Malta that the Board of Directors of ACML was composed solely of Ms Meyer following the resignation of Erik Ferm on January 3, 2018.

January 2018
She tells investors she will not be domiciling her fund in Malta after all. The UK administrator reports that it is unlikely that unsecured creditors will get any distribution, as the company has insufficient 'property' – but Ms Meyer will get something as the secured creditor.

January 2018
Business Office Services International – part of Alter Domus – notified the Registrar of Companies that it no longer permits Ariadne Capital Group to use its premises as its registered office.

April 25, 2018
Department of Industrial and Employment Relations files criminal proceedings in Malta for unpaid salaries. Ms Meyer was not notified. After crossing swords with her own lawyer, who has since terminated his representation of her, she e-mailed the magistrate directly, getting soundly slapped on the wrists for this breach.

May 10, 2018
Her PR man Henry Gewanter resorts to crowdfunding to cover the legal costs of his battle to get £15,000 he claims he is owed, saying on GoFundMe that he plans to seek support if successful to bring “similar actions for some of Meyer’s other victims”. Ms Meyer denies that he was ever part of her team, saying in an e-mail to investors “we certainly had discussions with him, but during these discussions ethical breaches came to light and we didn't pursue his candidature any further”.

May 11, 2018
Her investment licence is suspended by Malta’s financial regulator, with the Malta Financial Services Authority highlighting multiple “serious breaches” it has committed, which it had been investigating since November 2017. She says she had told MFSA on May 9 that she was withdrawing from Malta because of the “MFSA’s failure to process basic administrative tasks”, as well as needing to “protect shareholder interests by operating in a secure legal and business environment”.

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