Monday 8 February 2021 2:40 pm

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch gears up to fight US extradition attempt

Mike Lynch, the British businessman facing accusations of fraud, will this week fight attempts to extradite him to the US.

Lynch is facing charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in the US related to the 2011 acquisition of his former software firm Autonomy by tech giant Hewlett Packard.

Following the sale, HP wrote down Autonomy’s value by $8.8bn and claimed Lynch, and the firm’s ex-finance chief Sushovan Hussain, had falsely inflated its revenue prior to the acquisition.

Lynch has denied all of the allegations against him, and is preparing to fight the US extradition attempt. He will appear in court tomorrow morning.

Hussain was convicted in the US in April 2018 on 16 wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy counts.  He was also fined $4m and ordered to forfeit $6.1m.

Alongside the US attempts for Lynch to face criminal charges, the tech entrepreneur is also waiting for the judgement in a separate civil fraud trial in the UK.

HP sued Lynch and Hussain for $5.1bn (£3.96bn) for allegedly falsely inflating Autonomy’s revenue prior to the 2011 sale.

Lynch gave evidence for more than 20 days during the civil trial at London’s High Court and blamed HP for the failure of the Autonomy acquisition. 

Backlash for British business

Lynch – who founded Autonomy in 1996 – submitted himself for arrest in London in February last year in relation to the extradition case, and was subsequently bailed for £10m and ordered not to leave the country.

The extradition attempt has faced backlash from UK politicians, who have accused the US of misusing the agreement.

Ministers have said the US should wait for the outcome of the UK civil trial before pushing ahead with its own criminal investigation.

Former Brexit minister David Davis last year said if Lynch is sent to the US to face trial it would “cripple the City and Britain’s ability to determine its own future”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Davis said: “In essence, a legal playbook designed to catch and convict mobsters and racketeers has first been repurposed to catch white collar offenders, and now that repurposing has been extended outside American borders into what should be other countries’ jurisdictions.”

Lynch’s lawyers have said the “case has wider implications for British business”.

“Dr Lynch is a British citizen who ran a British company listed on the London Stock Exchange, governed by English law and UK accounting standards,” lawyers Chris Morvillo and Reid Weingarten said in a statement.

“This extradition request reflects yet another example of the DOJ’s attempts to exert extraterritorial jurisdiction over non-US conduct. 

“The forum bar in the UK Extradition Act was enacted by the UK Parliament to protect British citizens from such a scenario.”