By Peter McLaren-Kennedy •
Published: 28 Jan 2022 • 14:05
The UK entrepreneur Mike Lynch, who sold software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011, has lost a £3,75 billion fraud case brought against him in the USA.
Mr Lynch, who made £600m from the 2011 deal, is now waiting to see whether the Home Secretary will grant his extradition to the US where prosecutors accuse him of fraud over the £7,5 billion deal.
The high court judge in the USA found in favour of HP in the bitter civil case, but said that the US firm would receive considerably less in damages than what was sought. Mr Justice Hildyard presided over the case which involved many bitter years of wrangling over the value of the company, which HP marked down by almost £6,75 billion after taking over the company.
HP claimed they had been hoodwinked over Autonomy’s true financial performance and prospects when going over its accounts in advance of the takeover. Mr Lynch, the company founder, made an estimated $800m from the deal,but has always denied any wrongdoing and argued he was being made a “scapegoat” for mismanagement by HP.
The judge found Autonomy had concealed the sales of hardware products and engaged in convoluted reselling schemes to mask a shortfall in its key software products.
An extradition request has been filed by the USA which the Home Secretary Priti Patel has yet to rule on, the request cites wire fraud and securities fraud, relating to the deal.
His Autonomy colleague, former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, was convicted in the US in 2019 and jailed for five years. He has subsequently lost an appeal against that conviction.
US authorities claim that Mr Lynch, who denies all charges against him, deliberately overstated the value of his business, which specialised in software to sort through large data sets.
Mr Lynch has opposed extradition on the grounds that the alleged criminal offences should come under the jurisdiction of the UK and not the US. He is expected to appeal any decision by Ms Patel which allows the US request.
He has also launched a counter claim for at least £95 million in damages against HP, who he claims made “false, misleading and unfair public statements” about his alleged responsibility for supposed accounting irregularities and misrepresentations at Autonomy. Although the entrepreneur lost the fraud case, it does not affect the counterclaim which is still ongoing.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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