Mike Lynch, the British software entrepreneur, has lost the final round of a legal battle against his extradition to stand trial in the United States for criminal fraud in the $11 billion sale of his company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard.
Priti Patel, Britain’s Home Secretary, will have to decide by Friday whether to approve Lynch’s extradition from Britain to the United States.
The United States has accused Lynch of manipulating Autonomy’s accounts, leading HP to pay an additional $5 billion for the company when it bought it in 2011. He faces a criminal trial American where he is charged with 14 counts of conspiracy and fraud. A London court ruled last July that he should be extradited to face charges in the United States. Lynch denies any wrongdoing.
The High Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by Lynch’s legal team to give Patel more time to consider his decision whether to approve extradition. Additional time would have potentially allowed him to consider an upcoming High Court ruling by Judge Robert Hildyard.
Hildyard is due in a few weeks on a civil lawsuit filed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise against Lynch alleging fraud over the autonomy agreement. The High Court trial, which took place in 2019, covered the same allegations about the sale of autonomy and heard from some of the same witnesses who are expected to testify in the US trial.
Judge Jonathan Swift on Wednesday denied Lynch’s latest legal request and said Patel should have until Friday to make a decision on extradition. His decision is set to start the clock on an appeal from Lynch, which must then be filed within 14 days. The extradition appeal process is lengthy in some cases. One filed by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took years.
Legal experts said Lynch’s case had wider significance for UK business leaders, setting an important precedent for those accused of criminal acts. The UK-US extradition treaty signed in 2003 has long been criticized by British MPs for being pro-US.
Thomas Garner, a partner and extradition solicitor at law firm Fladgate, said a favorable ruling in the High Court’s civil trial could serve as a basis for Lynch in any extradition appeal.
He added: “Still, a negative decision in the civil trial would, of course, be very damaging. . . attorneys on both sides will look to the civil judgment for any finding that helps their case. Whatever the outcome, it seems likely that Mr. Lynch’s case will continue to rumble on for some time to come.
A Lynch spokesperson declined to comment. The Home Office has been contacted for comment.