MIKE Lynch’s battle to fight extradition to the US on fraud charges could come to an end this week, with the Home Secretary due to rule on his case tomorrow.
Priti Patel had been expected to opine last week but her decision was delayed by seven days.
It marks the latest twist and turn in what has become one of the corporate world’s most complex legal cases, a decade on from Hewlett Packard’s $11bn (£8bn) purchase of Dr. Lynch’s software firm Autonomy – the acquisition that now sees the entrepreneur facing years behind bars in the States.
Hewlett Packard accused Lynch of “outright misrepresentations” in 2012 after the US tech firm wrote down the asset by three quarters.
The Serious Fraud Office in the UK investigated the accusations, they closed their investigation in 2015 in light of insufficient evidence.
But US authorities charged Lynch on fraud counts, and a judge ruled earlier this year that Lynch should be extradited to the US to face those charges, a decision which now falls to Patel. If the home secretary decides that he should be extradited, Lynch would have 14 days to appeal.
The timing is contentious as a civil case brought by HP in the High Court in London remains to be concluded. Justice Hildyard, who heard the case, is yet to offer a judgment. One is expected in the coming weeks.
Lynch’s legal team argued in the June extradition case that a judgment should be laid down before any decision on handing Lynch over to American authorities is made.
Judge Michael Snow, who ordered the extradition said that the civil case was “of limited significance” in decisions around Lynch’s exit or otherwise from the UK.
Lynch has denied all charges. He has also said that HP’s complaints stem from a decision to pay a 70 per cent premium when it bought Autonomy.
“It was an astronomical amount of money, but it was their choice – not ours,” he told the BBC.
The entrepreneur’s legacy includes also includes London-HQed cybersecurity darling Darktrace.
Lynch’s investment trust was Darktrace’s first investor. The firm’s CEO Poppy Gustafsson – who guided the firm to a successful float in London earlier this year – described Lynch as a “visionary technologist” but said he was not involved in the day-to-day running of the firm.