Mike Lynch should face fraud charges in the US over $11bn Autonomy sale, judge rules

·2-min read

SOFTWARE tycoon Mike Lynch should be extradited to the US to face fraud charges over the $11billion (£8billion) sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard, a judge in London has ruled.

The US Department of Justice has pursued Lynch over allegations that he falsely inflated Autonomy’s sales revenue before the sale to HP in 2011.

The Silicon Valley hardware giant acquired the software company only to write down its value by £6 billion a year later.

The company claims the sale figure was inflated by ‘accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations’.

Lynch, 56, who has been on bail since his arrest in February last year, denies the allegations against him and has bitterly fought his extradition to a California court to answer the charges.

His lawyers argue that the case is a “travesty of justice” and say the deal is a matter for UK courts.

At Westminster magistrates court this afternoon, District Judge Michael Snow ruled that Lynch should be extradited to the US.

The tycoon’s lawyers had put forward an abuse of process argument, suggesting large parts of the alleged criminal activity had taken place in the UK.

But the US government said Americans were the intended victims of the fraud, and HP shareholders are mainly based in the US.

District Judge Snow had been prepared to delay his ruling until after the outcome of a $5 billion London civil trial brought by HP.

But after hearing that case would not conclude for several months, he issued his decision today, saying the civil lawsuit verdict was “of limited significance in the case.”

The extradition ruling must be approved by the Home Office before it can take effect.

Lynch has 14 days to lodge an appeal at the High Court, and is expected to mount further challenge to today’s decision.

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