British entrepreneur Mike LynchBoris Johnson must block American attempts to extradite the technology tycoon once dubbed 'Britain's Bill Gates'
British entrepreneur Mike Lynch
Boris Johnson must block American attempts to extradite the technology tycoon once dubbed ‘Britain’s Bill Gates’ on fraud charges, former Cabinet ministers and business leaders have said.
Mike Lynch, the founder of Cambridge software giant Autonomy, has been accused of cooking its books before it was sold to Hewlett Packard (HP) for £7 billion. He denies the allegations – and the case was dropped after a UK probe – but could face a decade in jail if extradited under a 2003 Anglo-American treaty and found guilty in the US.
The case has prompted calls for the Government to intervene, backed yesterday by former Cabinet ministers, including Tories David Davis, Andrew Mitchell and Lord Maude of Horsham, and Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable.
Former Rolls-Royce boss Sir John Rose, tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman and former Barclays chairman Marcus Agius also joined them. In a letter to The Times newspaper criticising the extradition law, they said: ‘This is not justice. 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 system.’
Dr Lynch is due to appear before magistrates next month to contest his extradition. His lawyers say the US is trying to exert extra-territorial jurisdiction over a British company governed by English law. The US has jailed former Autonomy finance chief Sushovan Hussain and claims Dr Lynch was involved in a massive fraud. Dr Lynch made hundreds of millions of pounds from the sale of Autonomy.