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Former Dragon Julie Meyer fails to overturn six-month suspended sentence

Former Dragon and Venture capitalist Julie Meyer has failed in her bid to overturn the six-month suspended sentence handed down to her in February, following her long-standing refusal to pay almost £200,000 in legal fees to London law firm Farrer & Co.

At a hearing on Thursday, a Court of Appeals judge rejected the businesswoman’s appeal, as he suggested the suspended sentence handed down to Meyer “might well have been longer”.

The ruling comes after a High Court judge handed Meyer a six-month suspended sentence for Contempt of Court in February, over the venture capitalist’s failure to comply with court orders.

The suspended sentence came after Meyer refused to hand over financial documents and refused to attend multiple court hearings, over claims she could not travel to the UK due to having conjunctivitis and not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Meyer, the founder and chief executive of Swiss investment fund Viva Investment Partners (VIP), later lodged an appeal against her six-month suspended sentence in April.

However, on Thursday, Court of Appeals judge Lord Justice Males rejected the arguments made by Meyer’s lawyers, as he ruled the court had been right to initially conclude that the investor had carried out a “deliberate and cynical breach” of the court’s orders.

In his ruling, Lord Justice Males said there is “no substance, and certainly no merit,” to the arguments put forward by Meyer’s legal team, as he stated that there is no evidence any of the “supposed procedural deficiencies” pointed out by Meyer’s lawyer had caused the businesswoman any prejudice.

The judge also dismissed the venture capitalist’s claims that she had been prevented from handing over financial documents because of Swiss laws, as he suggested the High Court had been “right” not to be “impressed” by Meyer’s argument.

In a final comment, Lord Justice Males also said the court would not be sending an embargoed judgement to Meyer herself, as he claimed the businesswoman has demonstrated a “willingness to disregard court orders if it suits her to do so”.

The case comes after Meyer refused to pay almost £200,000 in legal fees to Farrer & Co partner Julian Pike, after claiming the lawyer had provided a poor service and only carried out five months of work. Instead, Meyer said Farrer & Co’s services had been worth £50,000 at the most.

Meyer later refused to attend multiple court hearings, despite being ordered to attend in-person, after Farrer & Co, the Royal Family’s go-to law firm, took the claim to court.

The ruling comes after investors speaking to media accused the businesswoman of using money paid into her venture capital funds to bankroll her own lifestyle.

Those who had previously worked closely with Meyer also claimed to City AM that the high profile businesswoman has a history of refusing to pay her workers’ salaries.

Meyer originally based in the UK was awarded an MBE in 2012 and selected by the UK government to advise on policies aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in Britain.

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