Priti Patel approves extradition of UK tech tycoon

Priti Patel approves extradition of UK tech tycoon

Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the extradition of a British tech giant to the US to face criminal fraud charges.

The decision comes after Dr Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, lost a multibillion-dollar fraud action in London on Friday.

His firm was was sold to US tech giant Hewlett Packard (HP) for $11bn in 2011.

He is accused of manipulating its accounts to inflate the value of the company before its sale.

HP sued Autonomy's founder and former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, claiming they "artificially inflated Autonomy's reported revenues, revenue growth and gross margins".

Mr Justice Hildyard said HP had "substantially won" its case, more than two years after the start of what was believed to be the UK's biggest civil fraud trial - which was heard over nine months in 2019.

Dr Lynch always denied the accusation and said on Friday that he would appeal.

That decision in court on Friday coincided with a midnight deadline on the same day for the Home Secretary to decide whether or not the tech entrepreneur should be extradited to the US to face criminal trial for 14 counts of conspiracy and fraud.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Under the Extradition Act 2003, the secretary of state must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the home secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.

"On January 28, following consideration by the courts, the extradition of Dr Michael Lynch to the US was ordered."

Kelwin Nicholls, of law firm Clifford Chance, representing Dr Lynch, said in a statement on Friday evening: "Dr Lynch firmly denies the charges brought against him in the US and will continue to fight to establish his innocence.

"He is a British citizen who ran a British company in Britain subject to British laws and rules and that is where the matter should be resolved. This is not the end of the battle — far from it."

The lawyer also confirmed that Dr Lynch would file an appeal to the High Court in London.

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