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Thursday 22 July 2021

Mike Lynch loses Round One of fight against extradition to the US

LynchAs you no doubt already know from the extensive media coverage tonight, a London judge has ruled that Mike Lynch CAN be extradited to the US. Given that the High Court ruling on the civil case between HP & Lynch has still not been made, the extradition ruling today was a bit unexpected. However, this is far from the end of the issue as there is still an appeal to the Home Secretary and thereafter appeals to the High Court and Supreme Court. All that could take a year or more.

I’ve written extensively about Mike Lynch and Autonomy both from the inception of TMV and post its 2011 acquisition by HP. (Search the Hotview archive and read over 200 articles dating back to 2008) My comments on the various legal charges against Lynch and other Autonomy executives, always bring a large and mixed ‘post’bag. I’ve always said that Lynch should be treated as innocent unless found otherwise. That’s why the High Court ruling, due in a few months, is pivotal to my thinking.

However, today’s ruling is not to do with Lynch’s guilt or innocence in manipulating Autonomy’s financial results so that HP paid a higher price. Today’s ruling is all about whether any of us in the UK should be extradited to the US to answer allegations about events in Britain, concerning a British company, listed on the LSE and governed by English law.

The 2003 UK-US extradition treaty came hot on the heels of the 9/11 atrocity in New York and was meant to be aimed a terrorists. However, it has been far more often used against ‘white collar’ UK executives. It is also greatly biased in favour of the US.

Whatever your views on Lynch’s ‘guilt’, if he is extradited this is something that could potentially happen to many of our readers as many work for companies that have a presence in the US and also have US shareholders. Just look at how many other UK companies have been acquired in the last 10 years by US firms.

On a purely personal basis, I just don’t understand how Mike Lynch puts up with all this.  I know I would have buckled long ago.

I sincerely hope Lynch is NOT extradited. If the UK High Court finds against him – so be it. He should face his punishment here.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 20:52

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