London’s tech darling Darktrace has fallen from grace once again, with shares plunging nearly 15 per cent this afternoon.
The latest dip comes just a day after the High Court handed down its full 1600-page judgment against British tech tycoon Mike Lynch, who was sued by tech firm Hewlett Packard (HP) over its $11bn (£8.9bn) purchase of software firm Autonomy back in 2011.
Lynch lost the multibillion-dollar fraud action back in January following claims that as the founder of the company he had deliberately overstated the value of Autonomy to HP before it was sold. Home Secretary Priti Patel also approved Lynch’s extradition to the United States where he faces criminal fraud charges.
While Lynch’s Clifford Chance lawyers confirmed this week that they will be appealing the civil court decision against Lynch, as well as his extradition, it is the tycoon’s connection to Darktrace that appears to continue drag the turbulent stock up and down.
Not only was Lynch central to the creation of cyber firm Darktrace, but the full judgment handed down on Tuesday revealed that the current Darktrace chief strategy officer Nicole Eagan was “part of a clique responsible with the defendants for the operation of the impugned ‘levers’.”
In his judgment, Mr Justice Hildyard revealed Eagan was investigated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for her role in the sale of Autonomy when she was chief marketing officer back in 2016. It is understood that she was still being investigated for her involvement as late as January 2021.
The FTSE 250 firm has had a rough ride on the London Stock Exchange since it first floated in April last year, which initially valued the company at £1.7bn. The share price has fallen 37 per cent in the last six months alone.
Commenting on the judgment, a spokesperson for Darktrace said: “Neither Darktrace nor its acting executives are targets in the legal proceedings in the UK or the US. Some of its executives have acted as witnesses to the proceedings in the UK in their capacity as former Autonomy employees”.