The collapse of Australian music-streaming firm Guvera is already one of the least-edifying stories of the digital-music era. But now it has plumbed new depths. It concerns AMMA Private Equity, the company run by Guvera co-founder Darren Herft, which was responsible for raising funding from private investors for the streaming service.
The company has been ordered to repay $6.6m to 80 year-old Australian farmer Keith Messer who made eight separate investments in Guvera – despite having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the year of his first investment. A court case saw Messer’s daughter claim that she had contacted AMMA to explain that her father “did not understand the investments, had no paperwork and did not wish to invest further in Guvera”, yet was ignored.
While AMMA denied the claims, the judge in the case ruled in Messer’s favour, describing AMMA’s conduct as “exploitative and manipulative” in selling shares that were “at all times worthless” to a vulnerable investor.