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UK tech tycoon Mike Lynch fails in bid to delay extradition ruling

EconomyJan 26, 2022 08:55AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British entrepreneur Mike Lynch arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain, February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain must make a decision this week on whether to extradite tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch to the United States after he failed on Wednesday to have it delayed until the end of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against him.

U.S. prosecutors want the 56-year-old to stand trial in the United States on 17 counts of fraud and conspiracy connected to the sale of Autonomy, the software company he founded and led, to Hewlett-Packard (HP (NYSE:HPQ)) in an $11 billion deal in 2011.

Lynch has tried to stop the extradition process until a decision in a London civil case brought by Hewlett-Packard is made public, something that is expected in the next few weeks.

Last year, a judge at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that Lynch could be extradited and sent the case to the Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Patel obtained two extensions, but a request for a third, longer delay was refused. Lynch challenged that decision in London's High Court, but it was rejected on Wednesday.

The court's ruling means that Patel, who also wanted to wait until after the verdict was given in the civil trial, must now give her decision before midnight on Friday, according to the judgment.

Extradition lawyer Edward Grange, a partner at law firm Corker Binning, said the home secretary only had limited grounds upon which to refuse to order extradition.

"If extradition is ordered it is expected Lynch will apply for permission to appeal," he said.

If Patel orders his extradition, Lynch would have 14 days to apply to the High Court for permission to appeal, he said.

In the meantime, a long-awaited judgement on the multibillion-dollar Autonomy civil case will finally be made public shortly, some two years after the trial ended.

Hewlett-Packard is suing Lynch along with his former finance chief Sushovan Hussain for more than $5 billion, alleging they inflated the value of the British data firm before selling it. Lynch and Hussain have denied the allegations.

HP bought Autonomy, whose software searches and sorts data, in 2011 but a year later it wrote down its value by $8.8 billion, saying it had uncovered serious accounting improprieties.

The U.S. software giant said Lynch was complicit in a series of fraudulent transactions to drive revenue growth at Autonomy.

During a hearing last week over Lynch's extradition challenge, London's High Court was told the result of that lawsuit should be publicised in the next two to three weeks.

UK tech tycoon Mike Lynch fails in bid to delay extradition ruling
 

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