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Ex-Dragon Julie Meyer pursued for string of alleged unpaid bills

Ashley Armstrong
Ariadne Capital founder Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer, a former TV “Dragon” and founder of investment firm Ariadne Capital, is being pursued by a former colleague, supplier and a magic circle law firm over an alleged string of unpaid bills.

Ms Meyer, who was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship, has been caught up in a legal dispute in Malta after a PR company issued a “garnishee order” in an attempt to freeze her assets. Mangion & Lightfoot has filed a claim against Ariadne Capital Malta Limited for unpaid bills of €59,649 (£52,630). 

Ms Meyer said that the PR firm was employed by her London office, not her Maltese subsidiary, and says her company’s financial assets are protected because it uses a private Swiss bank account.

Ms Meyer insists her company is liquid and said Ariadne Capital had just completed a £7.5m funding round: “Mangion & Lightfoot has issued a garnishee order to a business which is not related to the entity it had engaged with. They even told one of my colleagues that they knew the order would not be successful in getting money out of me, but to damage us.”

Former "Dragon" Julie Meyer is being pursued over alleged unpaid bills

Mark Lightfoot, director of the PR firm, said that while he had been asked to bill Ariadne’s London subsidiary, the work had been for the Maltese business. He denied an attempt to damage Ms Meyer and said the order “was done to protect our rights as a creditor”. 

“Malta needs to change its rules on the garnishee system which works on the basis of guilty until proven innocent,” Ms Meyer said.

The entrepreneur has been a vocal advocate of the region and has organised a Maltese government supported event to attract investment. Ms Meyer previously lost a lawsuit with London-based PR firm Lansons who sued its former client for £76,000 in unpaid invoices. 

A former colleague is also suing her for three months of unpaid wages, although the businesswoman dismisses the validity of the claim. It has also emerged that Ms Meyer is being sued by law firm Clifford Chance amid a row over unpaid fees. 

Meyer said that she had a “good working relationship with Clifford Chance” and 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.”