Tycoon facing extradition to US loses latest round of legal fight
A British technology tycoon facing extradition to the United States after being accused of fraud has lost the latest stage of a legal battle.
Mike Lynch had mounted a High Court challenge against a deadline set by a judge during extradition proceedings.
But the judge, who considered his challenge at a recent hearing in London, ruled against him on Wednesday.
Mr Justice Swift heard that a judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court had rejected “various challenges” Mr Lynch had made against his extradition and ruled that Home Secretary Priti Patel could decide whether to extradite.
The Cabinet minister subsequently asked District Judge Michael Snow if she could have until March 2022 to make that decision.
Judge Snow refused her application and said she should make a decision before Christmas.
Mr Lynch had challenged that ruling by Judge Snow and wanted Mr Justice Swift to overturn it, but he refused.
“It was for the judge to decide whether there was sufficient reason to grant the extension requested,” said Mr Justice Swift in his written ruling on Wednesday.
“The judge was entitled to expect a clear explanation of the reasons why the extension was needed.”
He added: “No such explanation is immediately apparent from the reasons relied on by the Secretary of State.”
Mr Justice Swift said the decision deadline had been extended to cater for Mr Lynch’s High Court challenge.
He indicated that Ms Patel will now have to make a decision before the end of this week.
US authorities have accused Mr Lynch of being involved in a multibillion-dollar fraud in America over the sale of his software company, Autonomy, to Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for 11 billion dollars (£8.5 billion), which resulted in “colossal financial losses” for the US firm.
They claim he deliberately overstated the value of his business, which specialised in software to sort through large data sets.
Mr Lynch denies all charges against him.
Lawyers representing the US government argued that Mr Lynch’s challenge to Judge Snow’s ruling should be dismissed.
Ms Patel wanted to consider another judge’s ruling, in a separate High Court case involving Mr Lynch, before making an extradition decision.
Lawyers had told Mr Justice Swift that that ruling – by Mr Justice Hildyard – was imminent.
Mr Justice Hildyard began overseeing a High Court trial in London more than two years ago.
Hewlett-Packard sued Mr Lynch, and Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, for around five billion dollars (£3.8 billion) over its purchase of Autonomy in 2011.
The technology giant claimed Mr Lynch “committed a deliberate fraud over a sustained period of time” to artificially inflate Autonomy’s value, which it says forced it to announce an 8.8 billion dollar (£6.7 billion) write-down of the firm’s worth just over a year after its acquisition.
Mr Lynch argued that Hewlett-Packard was trying to make him “a scapegoat for their failures”.