Mike Lynch loses US extradition delay bid: Flight across the Atlantic looks closer than ever

Autonomy founder set for criminal trial on multiple counts of fraud over sale of biz to HPE


Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has lost a bid to delay his extradition to the US after a High Court judge ruled there was no reason to impose a months-long delay on the case.

Mr Justice Swift dismissed Lynch's application for judicial review this morning, saying the entrepreneur failed to successfully argue that Home Secretary Priti Patel should have until March to decide whether or not Lynch ought to be extradited.

"In November [District Judge Snow] was being asked, for a second time, to allow a significant extension to the required period," said Mr Justice Swift in a written judgment handed down today. "It was hardly surprising that on that occasion he wanted to understand why the Secretary of State thought she needed to consider the contents of the judgment in the Chancery proceedings in order to decide whether specialty was a barrier to extradition."

Lynch had hoped that judgment in the £5bn UK civil fraud trial would clear him of alleged wrongdoing over the $11bn sale of software company Autonomy to Hewlett Packard in 2011.

In the US, Lynch is facing a criminal trial, charged with 17 counts of fraud, after HPE accused him of cooking the books to inflate Autonomy's sale price in 2011. Lynch denies the allegations.

The Autonomy founder had argued that American prosecutors seeking his extradition would use the High Court's judgment from the Autonomy trial to pile fresh criminal charges onto him. Specialty is the legal principle which says countries trying to extradite Britons must state all the potential criminal charges up front. The idea is to guard against politically motivated extraditions as opposed to genuine crimes.

The effect of today's decision is to force Patel to make a formal order for Lynch's extradition, meaning she and her officials won't get bags of time to read and digest the Autonomy UK civil trial's 1,500-page judgment. That judgment still hasn't been handed down, two years after the last hearing in the case.

Lynch's PR representatives declined to comment. He has 14 days to file a formal appeal against the inevitable extradition order, which means the case will proceed to the Court of Appeal.

As for the main High Court case before Chancery Division judge Mr Justice Hildyard, it seems closer than ever to being an irrelevance to Lynch's immediate future.

Lynch and former Autonomy vice president Steve Chamberlain face a multitude of wire fraud charges in the US. Chamberlain is already in the US but prosecutors are holding off starting the trial until Lynch is safely in their grasp.

HPE told The Register: "The Department of Justice's request to extradite Dr Lynch arises out of his indictment on criminal charges in the United States. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is not a party to the US criminal proceedings or the extradition request in the UK. The civil lawsuit filed in the UK against Dr Lynch in 2015 is an independent dispute between the parties." ®


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