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Extradited British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch begins U.S. fraud trial

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch enters before Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain, February 12, 2021.

March 18 (mod1s) - Mike Lynch, the billionaire tech pioneer once touted as Britain's equivalent to Steve Jobs, will face a U.S. jury in California on Monday in a trial over the charge he deceived Hewlett-Packard in the $11 billion sale of his software firm Autonomy. 

Federal prosecutors in San Francisco accuse Autonomy co-founder Lynch and former finance chief Stephen Chamberlain of misrepresenting the business's revenue beginning in 2009 -- a plan prosecutors claim ended in HP's catastrophic purchase of the company in 2011.

Autonomy's unraveling ranks among the worst business mergers, culminating to the dismissal of HP's chief executive officer and a $8.8 billion writedown. 

The collapse started more than a decade of court fights for Lynch. 

HP largely won a legal complaint against him and Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy's former chief financial officer, in London in 2022, and it is seeking $4 billion in damages. 

Hussain was separately convicted on U.S. charges in 2018. Months later, prosecutors filed charges against Lynch and Chamberlain.

Lynch opposed his extradition, but was finally hauled to the U.S. to face the accusations when Britain's High Court granted him permission to appeal last year. 

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who is supervising the trial, granted Lynch bail covered by a $100 million bond, but limited him to a residence in San Francisco under 24 hour supervision. 

Lynch's counsel has indicated in court that his net worth is roughly $450 million.

Prosecutors accuse Lynch and Chamberlain of padding Autonomy's books using backdated agreements and "roundtrip" arrangements that fronted payments to consumers through bogus contracts. Part of the objective was to persuade purchasers like HP, prosecutors said. 

At the trial slated to continue until late May, jurors may hear from dozens of witnesses, including Leo Apotheker, the former HP top executive who was sacked weeks after the Autonomy acquisition was disclosed.

Lynch's counsel have claimed in court that he is contemplating testifying in his own defense during the trial, where he faces 16 charges of fraud and conspiracy. Chamberlain faces 15 charges. 

Both guys are deemed innocent. The 12-person jury must reach a unanimous judgment to find any of them guilty. 

Hussain was convicted on 16 counts after a jury trial before Breyer in 2018. He was freed from jail in January after completing a five-year term. 

In the legal litigation, a British court concluded in January 2022 that Lynch had masterminded an intricate scam to inflate the worth of Autonomy, indicating the Silicon Valley corporation essentially triumphed in its civil case. 

Lynch had argued HP did not know what it was doing with Autonomy, and was out of its depth in comprehending his technology.


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