Autonomy founder Mike Lynch files for arrest

Mike Lynch, the founder of the software company Autonomy who is subject to a £3.8bn civil fraud trial in London, has submitted himself for arrest as part of an attempt by the US to extradite him to face criminal charges.

The entrepreneur appeared at a public hearing at Westminster magistrates court on Wednesday morning and was released on £10m bail.

Lynch is contesting extradition to the US, where he faces criminal charges and a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if found guilty. The 17 charges include conspiracy and wire fraud. Lynch denies any wrongdoing.

Cambridge-based Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for £8.4bn in 2011, and a year later HP wrote down $8.8bn (£6.7bn) in relation to the purchase, alleging accounting regularities.

In the civil fraud case in London, HP’s successor companies allege Lynch fraudulently inflated the value of Autonomy before its acquisition by HP. The businessman, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, has been accused of lying repeatedly and inventing evidence in the witness box.

His lawyers said: “Since HP first raised these allegations more than seven years ago, Dr Lynch has steadfastly denied them and has worked hard to properly respond and set the record straight … Dr Lynch vigorously rejects all the allegations against him and is determined to continue to fight these charges.”

They said Lynch had attended the high court in London every day of the 10-month trial and testified about the allegations for more than 20 days. He now awaits the civil trial judgment, which is expected within the next few months.

His lawyers said the US Department of Justice should not have started extradition proceedings before the judgment. The DoJ formally requested Lynch’s extradition on 1 December.

“Mike Lynch has submitted himself for arrest, a formality required as part of the extradition process initiated by the US Department of Justice,” they said.