The extradition of British entrepreneur Mike Lynch to the US would “cripple the City” and signal an erosion of national sovereignty, according to ex-Brexit secretary David Davis.
Lynch, founder of software company Autonomy, submitted himself for arrest in London on Wednesday after US authorities requested his extradition to stand trial for securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in relation to the £8.4bn sale of Autonomy to Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2011.
He was forced to pay £10m for bail and was banned from leaving the country by judge Emma Arbuthnot.
Lynch is also awaiting the outcome of a separate civil fraud trial in the UK, in which HP sued him and ex-Autonomy finance chief Sushovan Hussain for $5.1bn (£3.96bn) for allegedly falsely inflating Autonomy’s revenue prior to the 2011 sale.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Davis chastised the UK’s extradition treaty with the US that forces British authorities to extradite citizens to America if there is “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing.
The Tory MP said if Lynch was sent to the US to face trial it would “cripple the City and Britain’s ability to determine its own future”.
He said: “We are now looking at the bizarre prospect that a UK citizen could be tried and potentially acquitted by an English judge, where the burden of proof against him is lower, but find himself in a US prison facing a charge where the burden is higher, before the UK case has even been decided.
“Why would we give the US justice system priority over our own?
“Should Dr Lynch be extradited and denied bail, as most foreign suspects are, he will face appalling conditions that are much worse than anything found in the UK.”
Britain’s extradition treaty with the US was negotiated in 2003 and came into force in 2007.
Davis said the treaty was lopsided and unfair as there needs to be “probable cause” for the US to extradite its citizens to the UK, but just “reasonable suspicion” for Britain to be forced to extradite its citizens in the other direction.