Mike Lynch, the former boss of software company Autonomy, has suffered a setback in his battle to have the case brought against him by Hewlett-Packard tried in the UK.
A judge in London ruled that Lynch, who has been on bail since his arrest in February 2020, should be extradited to California where the US Department of Justice is waiting to try him for allegations that he used dubious accounting procedures to overstate Autonomy’s sakes revenue before US computer giant Hewlett Packard (HP) acquired the company in 2011.
The US computer giant paid US$11.1bn for Autonomy Corporation, but one year on from the deal its value tanked.
HP alleged that Autonomy misrepresented its financials ahead of the acquisition, which led to a US$8.8bn write-down.
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office looked into the HP takeover back in 2013 but dropped its probe two years later.
Later in 2015 Lynch launched a US$150mln legal action against Hewlett Packard, claiming that HP had made many statements that “were highly damaging” to his reputation.
Lynch’s legal advisors have always argued that the deal is a matter for the UK courts but representatives of multi-national computing titan HP said that as the majority of HP’s shareholders are based in the US, and it is shareholders who have lost out as a result of HP’s ill-fated takeover of Autonomy, the case should be heard in a US court.
HP has brought a US$5bn civil trial against Lynch … in London.
Lynch has 14 days to appeal against the decision of district judge Michael Snow and the extradition has, in any case, to be approved by the Home Office.
“Dr Lynch is disappointed that the court has ruled against him without waiting for the High Court’s judgment in the civil case that examined all these issues. Dr Lynch denies the charges against him,” said Chris Morvillo, one of Lynch’s legal representatives.
“At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, the court has ruled that a British citizen who ran a British company listed on the London Stock Exchange should be extradited to America over allegations about his conduct in the UK.
“We say this case belongs in the UK. If the Home Secretary nonetheless decides to order extradition, Dr Lynch intends to appeal,” Morvillo added.