Takeover scandal at Hewlett-Packard: British billionaire extradited to the USA

British billionaire Michael Lynch has been extradited to the United States, where he is now due to stand trial. This is reported by the British BBC. It is about the allegations of fraud surrounding the largest takeover in the British tech industry: In 2011, Hewlett-Packard (HP) bought Lynch’s software company Autonomy for 7.8 billion British pounds (around 9.1 billion euros), at the later Check but massively embellished numbers found. For 2010, for example, the profit was five times lower than stated. Lynch had fought against his extradition for a long time and with all legal means, in April he lost an appeal to the Scottish High Court.

A year later, the costs associated with the takeover had brought HP massively into the red. Because of “serious irregularities” and “massive inaccuracies” in the software company’s accounting, HP then wrote off $8.8 billion. The takeover was engineered by the German CEO Léo Apotheker, and the embellished figures were only noticed after Lynch left the company in mid-2012. At the end of 2012, the US judiciary got involved and started investigations. Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, was sentenced to five years in prison in the United States in 2019.

Lynch has consistently denied the allegations and challenged the extradition on the grounds that, as a British citizen who ran a British company in the UK, the matter should be resolved there as well. However, he could not assert himself with this. According to the BBC, he is now in California where the procedure is to be carried out. He is under house arrest at an address in San Francisco and has to pay for the mandatory private security service out of his own pocket. Because of a “serious escape risk” he also had to pay bail of 100 million US dollars. Lynch’s net worth is therefore estimated at more than 1.1 billion euros.


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