Sunday 10 October 2021 12:53 pm

Mike Lynch extradition decision over $5bn fraud trial delayed

The decision to extradite British entrepreneur Mike Lynch has been pushed to the end of the year after a judge delayed his decision in the separate $5bn (£3.7bn) case against Lynch by Hewlett-Packard.

A draft decision, spanning over 1,000 pages, had been expected to be distributed to both Hewlett-Packard and Lynch by 24 September, according to reports.

But Justice Hildyard missed a self-imposed deadline to issue the ruling, according to The Telegraph, which first reported the news.

It is not the first time the Judge has delayed making a decision in the biggest fraud trial in Britain. The High Court trial finished in January last year but Hildyard repeatedly delayed issuing a verdict, blaming the complexity of the case.

Lynch, a billionaire, faces accusations he flattered the accounts of his own company, Autonomy, to extract a higher price when it was sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.

Hewlett-Packard wrote off $8.8bn of the value of the acquisition, a year after the sale. The company blamed an alleged accounting fraud for $5bn of the impairment.

Lynch – who has denied the accusation – could spend more than 20 years behind bars, if found guilty.

The postponement of the draft decision could delay the public announcement of a final verdict until 2022 which, in turn, could push back a decision on extraditing Lynch to the US.

In 2018 Lynch was charged by prosecutors in the US for multiple acts of fraud and has not travelled to the country since.

Although a judge, in July this year, ruled that Lynch could be sent to the US to face a trial over the $11bn sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard, the Home Secretary Priti Patel postponed a ruling on approving his extradition until 29 November.