As published in the Telegraph:
Mike Lynch would suffer ‘degrading’ treatment in US prison, lawyer claims.
Mike Lynch is fighting against an attempt by the US government to extradite him to the country to face fraud charges.
Autonomy founder Mike Lynch will suffer “degrading” treatment inside a US prison if he is extradited and convicted of fraud, his lawyer has claimed.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Lynch at the start of a week-long extradition hearing, Alex Bailin QC said that the British entrepreneur would suffer badly in America’s penal system because of his health condition. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years inside US prisons if found guilty.
Speaking at a hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court, Mr Bailin said: “He would not have access to private toilet or washing facilities. He would share with one or two others.”
The US government is seeking to extradite Mr Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the US over the $11bn (£7.9bn) sale of his software firm to HP in 2011. He is also the defendant in a $5bn civil fraud trial brought by HP in the High Court. Mr Lynch denies wrongdoing.
Senior politicians such as Tory MP David Davis have spoken out over the case, describing it as another example of unfair US overreach.
Mr Bailin told the court that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has reserved the right to reopen an investigation into Mr Lynch if he is not extradited.
He said: “A decision in this court would not be an automatic ‘get out of jail free’ card.
“The SFO might decide to prosecute him. And of course he would vigorously contest that trial on British soil.”
Mr Lynch’s lawyers are seeking to persuade District Judge Michael Snow that his extradition should be blocked.
Mr Bailin said: “The US is not the global marshal of the corporate world. We say this case belongs here in Britain.”
A decision by the US government to file additional criminal charges against Mr Lynch on the eve of his 2019 High Court trial caused the entrepreneur to be “fearful of being arrested at any point, including the days on which he was testifying on his own defence,” his lawyer said.
Mark Summers QC, representing the US government, accused Mr Lynch’s legal team of making an argument that has “utter legal irrelevance”. He also claimed that the UK’s standing as a global financial hub had been “dented” by the fraud allegations made against Autonomy.
The extradition hearing will continue throughout this week, with a decision on whether Mr Lynch will be extradited to the US likely to be made later this year.