Dr Michael Lynch trial to go ahead in California in March

Dr Michael Lynch trial to go ahead in California in March

The Essex businessman Mike Lynch faces fraud charges in the US

Dr Michael Lynch in 2011 (GettyImages)

DR MICHAEL Lynch, accused of leading Britain’s biggest ever corporate fraud, will see the case against him begin in a San Francisco courtroom on March 18.

The case in California stands listed as ‘The United States of America v. Michael Richard Lynch, case number 3:18-cr-00577-CRB, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’. The charges centre on the £8bn sale of his data analytics company, Autonomy, to Hewlett Packard (HP), the American tech giant. Dr Lynch faces 17 counts of fraud.

But Hewlett Packard claimed that subsequent investigations had turned up “a massive fraud ”which Autonomy had perpetrated to inflate the price of the company. They accuse him of inflating Autonomy’s value by manipulating its accounts ahead of its £7bn sale to Hewlett Packard in 2011.

The company pursued Dr Lynch for 13 years, eventually leading to his extradition to the US.

Dr Lynch, if found guilty, could face up to 20 years in prison

He was extradited from Britain to San Francisco in 2023.

The businessman fought extradition proceedings for over a decade, vehemently denying all charges, but at the end of April last year the British High Court refused him permission to appeal their decision to grant extradition to US authorities, and he was extradited.

Dr Lynch arrived at San Francisco Airport on a commercial flight accompanied by US marshals. He paid over a bond of $100million (in effect bail) and handed over his passport — authorities continue to consider him a "serious flight risk" following his long battle against extradition. Since June 2023 he has been confined to an address in San Francisco, been forced to hand over his passport, and remains under 24-hour surveillance by private security which he has to pay for himself.

Autonomy’s former financial chief, Sushovan Hussain, was sentenced to five years in prison over charges related to the deal. He has recently been released from prison in the US, according to the Sunday Times. He had been held in a low security prison in Pennsylvania, and is now back in Britain.

Dr Lynch has always denied any wrongdoing and maintained his innocence of all charges laid against him.

Michael Lynch was born to Irish parents. They moved from Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary to Essex, where the young Mike was brought up. His mother was a nurse from Tipperary, his father a fireman from Co. Cork. Michael was subsequently educated at Cambridge and gained a doctorate in electrical engineering. Due to his gift as an entrepreneur, his business empire flourished.

Michael Lynch has been awarded an OBE for services to enterprise, and has served on the boards of both the British Library and the BBC. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, one of the most prestigious scientific institutes in the world. His entry reads: “Fuelled by a scientific background in signal processing and pattern recognition, Michael Lynch’s entrepreneurship has allowed him to successfully make the leap from academia to business. Notably, Michael co-founded Autonomy in Cambridge in 1996 — the UK’s largest software company until acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $11 billion in 2011.”