British technology tycoon Mike Lynch, who is facing extradition to the US after being accused of fraud, has failed to delay a decision by the Home Office this morning.
US authorities accused Lynch of being involved in a multibillion-dollar fraud over the sale of his software company, Autonomy, to Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for £8.5bn, which resulted in “colossal financial losses” for the US firm.
The tech firm argue that Lynch deliberately overstated the value of his business, which specialised in software to sort through large data sets.
Lynch denies all charges against him and suggested that HP was trying to make him “a scapegoat for their failures”.
Mike Lynch’s extradition was temporarily halted in mid-December after the millionaire filed for a judicial review challenging legal findings against him.
The High Court judge heard how a judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court had rejected “various challenges” Lynch had made to an extradition and ruled that Home Secretary Priti Patel could decide whether to extradite.
Patel subsequently asked District Judge Michael Snow if she could have until March to make her decision, which he refused, stating that it needed to be made before Christmas.
This morning, the High Court refused to overturn the ruling, meaning that the Home Secretary has until midnight on Friday to make her own verdict.
If Patel chooses to sign the papers, all this means in practice is that Lynch’s team can relaunch their appeal, questioning the Magistrates’ Court original ruling: putting the process back once again.
The Home Secretary also has the option to let the deadline elapse or refuse to sign the papers altogether, citing a special reason.
Representatives of Lynch declined to comment.
Thomas Garner, Extradition Partner at law firm Fladgate, explained that the decision was the “correct” one.
“In reality, the matters that the Secretary of State is entitled to consider in extradition cases have been tightly restricted ever since Theresa May blocked Gary McKinnon’s extradition. It is not clear whether considering the ruling would assist the Secretary of State to make her decision”, he said.
“Whatever the outcome, it seems likely that Mr Lynch’s case will rumble on for some time yet.”
A case in point is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s ongoing battle against his own extradition to the US, where he would face 18 criminal charges including breaking a spying law.
Just this week, the High Court ruled that Assange could head to the Supreme Court to challenge his extradition, . He has been detained for 11 years fighting his case.