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Lynch off to face US court

by on12 May 2023

Faces 17 charges for what might have been HP's mess

UK Mike Lynch has been extradited to the United States to face criminal charges over Hewlett Packard's $11 billion acquisition of his software company.

Britain's interior ministry said on Friday that Lynch had been extradited on May 11 where he will face 17 charges over HPs 2011 takeover of his business.

Lynch denies any wrongdoing and had fought the extradition proceedings in the British courts, arguing he should be prosecuted in Britain, but on April 21, the High Court refused him permission to appeal.

"Dr. Lynch was extradited to the US on 11 May," a spokesperson for Britain's Home Office, or interior ministry, said.

Once seen as Britain's answer to Bill Gates, Lynch, 57, could now face 20 years in prison in the U.S.

Before the HP deal, he had been lauded by academics and scientists and asked to advise the British government on technology and innovation, after he grew Autonomy into Britain's biggest software company from his ground-breaking research at Cambridge University.

Within a year of buying Autonomy, HP wrote down the value of the deal by $8.8 billion and brought a civil lawsuit in London against Lynch and Autonomy’s former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain.

Lynch had said HP did not know what it was doing and was out of its depth in understanding his technology. To be fair, it was possible. HP at the time wanted to become SAP and thought Autonomy would provide a lot of the software. HP paid more than 79 per cent over the market price for the company in a move that was widely criticised as "absurdly high", a "botched strategy shift" and a "chaotic" attempt to rapidly reposition HP.

Lynch left HP after a year after his company under HP florished like an ice cube in the desert. Several months later HP took a write down of billions and blamed Lynch for faulty accounting. There were two investigations on both sides of the pond. The British Serious Fraud Office decided that there was not enough evidence to get a conviction. The US investigators decided that there was and demanded an extradition.  

The Silicon Valley company "substantially succeeded" in its lawsuit, a judge said in January 2022. Hussain was convicted of fraud in the United States and sentenced to five years in prison in 2019.


Last modified on 12 May 2023
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