Home Tech Tech tycoon Mike Lynch, accused of “massive” fraud, will testify at trial in the United States

Tech tycoon Mike Lynch, accused of “massive” fraud, will testify at trial in the United States

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Tech tycoon Mike Lynch, accused of "massive" fraud, will testify at trial in the United States

British businessman Mike Lynch is expected to take the stand in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday as a key witness in his own criminal fraud trial, which began in March.

US authorities have charged the former software mogul with 16 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy related to his company’s acquisition deal with Hewlett-Packard in 2011. If convicted, Lynch faces up to 25 years in prison. . He has pleaded not guilty.

However, at the end of the court process on Wednesday, Lynch’s legal team suggested he might seek a mistrial over an alleged inappropriate line of questioning during cross-examination by the prosecution. The team said it will decide whether to file a motion Thursday morning, when the court reconvenes. If granted, a mistrial could mean Lynch will have to be tried again at a later date.

Lynch, once hailed as the “British Bill Gates,” sold his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard in a deal that prosecutors said was based on “a series of lies.” The executive is accused of artificially inflating the software company’s sales; deceive auditors, analysts and regulators; and intimidate people who raised concerns.

Barely a year after the $11.1bn (£8.72bn) deal, from which Lynch received £500m, Hewlett-Packard reported “serious accounting irregularities, disclosure failures and gross misrepresentations” and wrote down the value. of the acquisition at 8.8 billion dollars.

In his testimony Thursday, Lynch is expected to continue the line of defense put forward so far by his legal team, which attributes some financial discrepancies at the heart of the alleged fraud to differences between U.S. and U.K. accounting standards and suggests that he was not the driving force behind the decisions in question.

Reid Weingarten, Lynch’s attorney, has argued that the case amounts to a “routine business dispute” that led to an “overblown fraud case.” While prosecutors’ argument is “black and white,” Weingarten told the court, the reality is more nuanced.

“You will see in this essay that the world doesn’t work like that,” he said. “The world works in gray. The world is complicated.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors have described Lynch as a domineering boss and driving force behind a “massive” fraud that spanned years.

“Autonomy’s financial statements were materially false and misleading,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Reeves, claiming the company lied to auditors and investors “over and over again” for 10 quarters, and fraudulently inflated its revenue between 2009 and 2011 to suggest growth.

Lynch was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019 and extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States last May. After posting $100 million bail, he was released under house arrest at a property in San Francisco where he spent the last year preparing for trial.

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