Patel's verdict

Lynch to be extradited to US after losing fraud case

Mike Lynch
Mike Lynch: extradition order

Home Secretary Priti Patel last night approved the extradition of British technology tycoon Mike Lynch to the US to face criminal fraud charges.

Ms Patel reached her decision after the founder of Autonomy lost a multibillion-dollar civil action in the High Court London earlier in the day.

Hewlett Packard (HP) won its case against Mr Lynch whom it accused of manipulating the accounts following its $11 billion (£8.2bn) acquisition of the Cambridge-based software company in 2011. Within a year it had written down its value by $8.8bn.

It subsequently sued its founder Mike Lynch and former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, claiming they “artificially inflated Autonomy’s reported revenues, revenue growth and gross margins”.

In his summary, Mr Justice Hildyard said the claimants have “substantially succeeded” in their claims in the proceedings.

However, the damages, to be settled at a later date, are likely to be less than the $5bn HP claimed and the tech entrepreneur can appeal against the decision.

The ruling followed what was believed to be the UK’s biggest civil fraud trial, heard over nine months in 2019. Costing £40m, it was also the most expensive.

The judge’s full ruling has not yet been published and remains strictly under embargo.

The decision coincided with a midnight deadline for the Home Secretary to decide whether or not Mr Lynch should be extradited to the US to face a criminal trial for 14 counts of conspiracy and fraud.

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A Home Office spokesperson said: “Under the Extradition Act 2003, the secretary of state must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the home secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.”

Dr Lynch, a former academic who made $850 million from the sale of the firm he built into the UK’s second largest software company, denies all charges against him. He argued that the technology giant was trying to make him “a scapegoat for their failures”.

Regarding Friday’s judgement, Kelwin Nicholls of Clifford Chance, lawyer for Dr Lynch, 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. We also note the judge’s expectation that any loss suffered by HP will be substantially less than the $5bn claimed.”

Mr Hussain was convicted in April 2018 in the US of wire fraud and other crimes related to Autonomy’s sale and was jailed for five years.

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