'Britain's Bill Gates' Mike Lynch set for extradition to the US

'Britain's Bill Gates' Mike Lynch set for extradition to the US

January 29, 2022

‘Britain’s Bill Gates’ Mike Lynch loses £3.7BILLION legal fight against US giant Hewlett Packard over his ex-company Autonomy – as extradition to the States looms

  • Tech tycoon Mike Lynch is facing extradition to the United States to face charges
  • He faces more than a dozen charges over an alleged £3.7 billion fraud 
  • Lynch’s legal team is set to fight the attempts to extradite him to the US 

Tech tycoon Mike Lynch has lost the UK’s biggest civil fraud claim in a battle with US giant Hewlett Packard over his former company Autonomy.

The £3.7 billion defeat makes it more likely the scandal- hit entrepreneur will now be extradited to the US – where he faces more than a dozen charges.

A High Court judge yesterday ruled that Dr Lynch masterminded an elaborate scheme to cook Autonomy’s books before it was sold to HP in 2011 for £8.3 billion. HP was forced to write down the value of the company by £6.8 billion a few months later.

Tech tycoon Mike Lynch has lost the UK’s biggest civil fraud claim in a battle with US giant Hewlett Packard over his former company Autonomy

The judgment was delivered hours before Priti Patel was due to decide whether to extradite Dr Lynch. The Home Secretary had until midnight to make a decision.

Dr Lynch, 56, could spend up to 20 years in prison if he is found guilty in the US. He denies all the charges against him and claims HP failed to do proper research when it bought Autonomy.

Dr Lynch’s team has called for the extradition to be blocked on grounds that the claims against him mostly concern actions in the UK and must be dealt with by the British justice system.

His team has also argued he could suffer inhumane conditions that would take a severe toll on his health if he was transferred.

But lawyers for the US government say he ‘aimed dishonest activities at the US on a monumental scale’ and should not be ‘immune from the American justice system’.

If Miss Patel agrees to extradite Dr Lynch, he would have 14 days to appeal – which could lead to another lengthy court process.

It is a dramatic fall from grace for the UK’s most successful tech entrepreneur, who was previously dubbed Britain’s answer to Bill Gates.

HP, now Hewlett Packard Enterprise, sued Dr Lynch and Autonomy’s former finance boss Sushovan Hussain for £3.7 billion.

Hussain was convicted in the US in 2019 and jailed for five years. He has subsequently lost an appeal against that conviction.

Yesterday’s ruling is the latest stage in a ten-year legal wrangle over who was to blame for the disastrous takeover, which cost HP’s shareholders billions of pounds. Kelwin Nicholls, of law firm Clifford Chance, representing Dr Lynch, said he was already planning to appeal against the civil ruling. Mr Nicholls said: ‘Today’s outcome is disappointing and Dr Lynch intends to appeal.

‘We will study the full judgment over the coming weeks. We note the judge’s concerns over the reliability of some of HP’s witnesses.’

The judge said HP had ‘substantially succeeded’ in its various claims against the two men – but added that the company was likely to receive ‘substantially less’ than the £3.7 billion it claimed in damages.

Justice Robert Hildyard said Dr Lynch was aware that Autonomy was engaged in dishonest practices and its accounts were false.

The judgment was delivered hours before Priti Patel was due to decide whether to extradite Dr Lynch

The married father of two turned ground-breaking research made during his PhD at Cambridge University into the foundation of Autonomy, which became a FTSE 100-listed company.

The civil judgment was not expected to be released yesterday. Its outcome is a particularly hard blow for Dr Lynch as he had been hoping it would exonerate him and increase his chances of Miss Patel ruling in his favour.

The Home Secretary was supposed to decide on Dr Lynch’s fate last year but requested an extension until March specifically so she could consider the outcome of the case.

She was refused the extension, but Dr Lynch launched his own appeal.

A judge ruled against the extension earlier this week – but yesterday’s surprise announcement meant Miss Patel could take it into account. 

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