Lynch extradition threat must be fought, PM told
Leading politicians, including five former Cabinet ministers and an ex-head of the BBC have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resist any attempt by the US to extradite Cambridge technology entrepreneur Mike Lynch on potential fraud charges.
Warning that Dr Lynch could unjustly face 10 years in jail, they say in a letter to The Times, that such an outcome would “not be justice.”
The legal battle was sparked by US tech giant HP which alleges that it was misled on financials before paying $11 billion for Dr Lynch’s Cambridge-based software business Autonomy in October 2011.
The results of a 10 month hearing in the UK’s High Court last year when the fur flew between Dr Lynch and his accusers have still not been determined; at the time of going to Press there remained no clarity on when a verdict will be delivered by Mr Justice Hildyard.
But Dr Lynch is slated to face an extradition hearing on February 8 in London which could last four or five days, although a ruling resulting from that could take a couple of months.
The signatories, including former Brexit Secretary David Davis, ex-Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable and prominent Tory MP, Sir Nicholas Soames, pull no punches in their plea for justice for Dr Lynch.
They write: “Within weeks another British businessman could be ordered from the UK to face US justice and a decade in prison if convicted.
“The Serious Fraud Office considered the case involving Mike Lynch and decided there was nothing worthy of prosecution. The High Court picked over the issues for 10 months.”
“The British legal system is quite capable of dealing with this. But our extradition treaty with the US can mean none of that matters.
“Mr Lynch is in a commercial dispute with Hewlett Packard, the US tech giant that bought his company, Autonomy, in 2011.
“Any British businessman or woman who finds themselves at odds with a powerful US company could face the same fate. That means facing a system where prosecutors cut deals offering their own witnesses immunity, while those who want to testify for the defendant risk being dubbed “co-conspirators” and prosecuted.
“This is not justice. The prime minister accepts the treaty is unbalanced. The foreign secretary has railed against it. Politicians on all sides want it changed.
“We’ve surrendered sovereignty over our own justice system for too long. The Government cannot stand by as another Briton risks being delivered like this to the US justice system.”