‘Bill Gates of Britain’ Mike Lynch CAN be extradited to US over fraud claims after selling £8.5 billion software company
A BRITISH technology tycoon known as the “Bill Gates of Britain” can be extradited to the US to face fraud charges, a judge has ruled.
Internet billionaire Mike Lynch is accused of “cooking the books” at his former firm before it was sold to US firm Hewlett-Packard for £8billion in 2011.Mike Lynch is seen leaving court after losing his bid to block extradition to America on fraud charges[/caption]
The 56-year-old, from west London, denies the allegations and has tried to block a request to extradite him to face trial in the United States.
US authorities claim he deliberately overstated the value of his business, which specialised in software to sort through large data sets.
During a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Michael Snow told him: “I have rejected your various challenges under the Extradition Act.
“I am required to send the case to the secretary of state on whether you should be extradited to the US.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel will now make the decision over whether Mr Lynch should be sent to the US.
The former scientific adviser to the UK Government has 14 days to appeal following her decision.
During the hearing yesterday, Alex Bailin QC, representing Mr Lynch, argued that the decision on his extradition should wait until a separate civil case judgment is given later this year, with a draft version expected in September.
Mark Summers, outlining the case for the American government to secure the extradition, said Judge Snow should not wait as the civil case is a separate issue and any judgment over extradition could be pushed back to January — two years after his arrest.
Judge Snow said Mr Justice Hildyard has an “unenviable” and “formidable” task presiding over the civil case, but he was not prepared to wait a further nine weeks for the outcome.
He added any decision would “not apply to extradition law”.
Former Brexit secretary and Conservative MP David Davis, who has previously supported Mr Lynch’s bid not to be extradited, appeared by videolink for the hearing on Thursday. He did not speak during the hearing.
Chris Morvillo of Clifford Chance, a lawyer for Mr Lynch, said in a statement: “Dr Lynch is disappointed that the court has ruled against him without waiting for the High Court’s judgment in the civil case that examined all these issues.
“Dr Lynch denies the charges against him. At the request of the US Department of Justice, the court has ruled that a British citizen who ran a British company listed on the London Stock Exchange should be extradited to America over allegations about his conduct in the UK.
“We say this case belongs in the UK. If the Home Secretary nonetheless decides to order extradition, Dr Lynch intends to appeal.”
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Following the hearing, Mr Lynch told BBC Radio 4’s PM show that the “insanity of this extradition treaty” was “it doesn’t rely on any facts”.
He added: “Unlike if we were to try and get someone from America, where they can go to court and say that ‘the facts say there is no basis for this, please don’t send me to England’, here it’s a default extradition basis and of course people don’t realise that.”
That meant “the US prosecutor has far more power over you to actually whip you out of your home and take you to America than your local policeman does to come and arrest you”, he said.
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