Extradition hearing of Suffolk tycoon accused of billion dollar fraud begins

British tech tycoon Michael Lynch arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London, for a hearing

British tech tycoon Michael Lynch arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London, for a hearing to avoid extradition to the US - Credit: PA

A Suffolk-based technology tycoon accused of a multibillion-dollar fraud should be tried in UK courts rather than sent to the US, his lawyer has told an extradition hearing.

Michael Lynch is wanted by American authorities over the sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2011 for 11 billion dollars (£8.5 billion), which resulted in heavy losses for the US firm.

US authorities claim Mr Lynch deliberately overstated the value of his company, which specialised in software to sort through large data sets.

Mr Lynch, 55, who lives near Wickham Market, denies wrongdoing.

His lawyer told an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday that the case belonged in the UK.

Alex Bailin QC said: “The US is not the global marshal of the corporate world.

“We say this case belongs here in Britain.

Most Read

“It concerns events, the majority of which involved the UK, it involved a British citizen (Mr Lynch) with strong lifelong links to the UK.”

He added: “Mr Lynch vehemently denies he was involved in any form of accounting wrongdoing, or fraud, or conspiracy or cover-up.

“But it ought to be examined by the English courts.”

A US extradition request for the businessman was submitted to British authorities in November 2019.

He faces 17 criminal charges in the US including wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud.

Supporters say he faces up to a decade in prison if convicted in the US.

HP is seeking damages of $5 billion (£3.8 billion) from Lynch in a separate civil case in London’s High Court.

Mr Lynch claims any loss was down to the tech giant’s mismanagement of the acquisition.

Mr Bailin said: “It is not in the interests of justice for extradition to take place.”

He said there were also concerns about the impact on Mr Lynch’s pre-existing health conditions were he to be held in a certain American jail, and warned he may not face trial in the US until two years after any extradition.

Mark Summers, briefly outlining the US government’s case, said the defence opening “laid entirely bare the utter legal irrelevance of vast swathes of its evidence”.

The extradition hearing is expected to last all week, and a judgment reserved to a later date.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter