An Irish-born entrepreneur facing extradition from the UK to the US over fraud allegations has signalled he intends to appeal against a High Court judge's decision in a civil case brought by Hewlett Packard (HP).
Dr Mike Lynch, founder of British software company Autonomy, is accused of deliberately overstating the value of his business before it was acquired by the American technology giant more than a decade ago.
HP, now Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), sued Dr Lynch and Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, for around $5 billion (€4.5 billion), following its purchase of the Cambridge-based firm for $11.1 billion dollars in 2011.
Announcing his decision on the case at the High Court in London on Friday, Mr Justice Hildyard said HP had "substantially succeeded" in its various claims against the two men – but is likely to receive "substantially less" than the amount claimed in damages. The announcement came on the same day UK home secretary Priti Patel was due to reach a decision as to whether Dr Lynch should be extradited to the US.
Kelwin Nicholls, of law firm Clifford Chance, representing Dr Lynch, said in a statement after the decision: “Today’s outcome is disappointing and Dr Lynch intends to appeal.
“We will study the full judgment over the coming weeks. We note the judge’s concerns over the reliability of some of HP’s witnesses.
“We also note the judge’s expectation that any loss suffered by HP will be substantially less than the $5 billion claimed.”
Mr Justice Hildyard delivered a summary of his conclusions in the case on Friday, more than two years after the start of what was believed to be the UK’s biggest civil fraud trial — which was heard over nine months in 2019.
He said Dr Lynch and Mr Hussain gave a “misleading picture” of the business, including by “reselling” hardware in order to enable Autonomy to cover shortfalls in software revenue.
The judge said Autonomy was founded in 1996 out of a company called Cambridge Neurodynamics, an early venture into using "machine learning" to develop software techniques which Dr Lynch had explored in his PhD thesis at Cambridge University. His full judgment in the case is expected to be published at a later date but remains embargoed until then. – PA