HomeTechUK tech tycoon Mike Lynch cleared of all charges in the US

UK tech tycoon Mike Lynch cleared of all charges in the US

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Following a 12-week trial in San Francisco, Lynch has been cleared of all fraud charges by US prosecutors and will be heading back to the UK.

British businessman Mike Lynch, who was accused of defrauding Hewlett-Packard (HP) in an acquisition deal 13 years ago, has been found not guilty on all 15 counts of fraud and conspiracy charges brought by US prosecutors.

Lynch co-founded Autonomy, a leading UK start-up that was acquired by HP in 2011 for a hefty $11bn.

However, a year after the deal HP wrote down the value of the UK company by $8.8bn, with $5bn of that write down due to what it called “accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations”.

In the US court case, HP argued that Autonomy had misrepresented its finances, but Lynch denied the allegations. Now, following a 12-week trial in San Francisco, Lynch has been cleared of all charges and will be heading back to the UK.

“I am elated with today’s verdict and grateful to the jury for their attention to the facts over the last ten weeks,” Lynch said after the ruling yesterday (6 June).

“My deepest thanks go to my legal team for their tireless work on my behalf. I am looking forward to returning to the UK and getting back to what I love most: my family and innovating in my field.”

The tech tycoon had been embroiled in legal battles with US authorities for many years, including being subject to what his lawyers call a “protracted and unfair” extradition process to the US – one that he fought hard to avoid.

Autonomy’s former chief financial offier Sushovan Hussain was given a five-year prison sentence in the US for fraud in relation to the HP deal in 2019. He chose not to appeal his conviction.

Christopher Morvillo and Brian Heberlig, legal counsel for Lynch, said that the verdict reflects a “resounding rejection” of the government’s “profound overreach” in the case.

“The evidence presented at trial demonstrated conclusively that Mike Lynch is innocent. This verdict closes the book on a relentless 13-year effort to pin HP’s well-documented ineptitude on Lynch,” they said.

“Thankfully, the truth has finally prevailed. We thank Lynch for his trust throughout this ordeal and hope that he can now return home to England to resume his life and continue innovating.”

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Mike Lynch, co-founder of Autonomy. Image: The Royal Society (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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