US presses ahead despite ongoing court case in the UK, and files extradition request for Dr Mike Lynch
The United States embassy in London has reportedly handed over an official extradition request for former Autonomy CEO and co-founder Dr Mike Lynch.
Last week, when it emerged that officials at the US Department of Justice (DoJ) had filed the extradition request, former Brexit Secretary David Davies condemned America’s attempt to extradite the tech billionaire at an “extraordinarily inappropriate time.”
This is because Dr Lynch is currently locked in an ongoing High Court legal trial in London against HPE and its CEO Meg Whitman.
However this week court documents revealed on 1 December that the US embassy in London had in actual submitted the extradition request on 21 November for Dr Lynch to stand trial in San Francisco.
Lynch is facing 17 counts of US charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy and securities fraud, which carries a maximum term of 25 years in prison.
Lynch continues to deny all charges,and has also stated that the dispute stems from a misunderstanding of UK and US accounting rules.
Lynch, alongside former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain, is currently being sued at the High Court in London, seeking $5bn in damages.
In June Dr Lynch took to the stand to deny HP’s allegations that he mislead markets and inflated his firm’s value before it was sold to Hewlett Packard (HP) for $11bn (£8.7 billion) way back in 2011.
During his lengthy testimony on the stand, the 54 year old hit out at HP and its management, in particular HP’s former CEO Meg Whitman (she is now CEO of HPE).
He said that Whitman was “out of her depth” and “could not cope with all the fires” at the company.
HP’s acquisition of Autonomy in 2011 was the largest-ever buyout of a European technology firm. The deal was intended to spearhead HP’s move into software, but instead HP a year later wrote off three-quarters of what it had paid.
In September 2016 HPE sold its software business, including the Autonomy operation, to British IT firm Micro Focus for only $8.8 billion (£7bn).
In April 2015 HP had sued Hussain and Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch for $5.1 billion in London’s High Court of Justice, making similar claims of fraud, in a case believed to be the largest-ever civil prosecution of British nationals.
On this side of the Atlantic, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in Britain closed its investigation into the sale of Autonomy to HP, claiming there was ‘insufficient evidence’ for a realistic prospect of conviction.
Dr Mike Lynch countersued HP for $160m in 2015, saying at the time the company had ruined his reputation and that it was “incompetent in its operation of Autonomy”, leading to the acquisition’s failure.
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