LONDON- Britain must make a decision this week on whether to extradite tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch to the United States after he failed on Wednesday to have it delayed until the end of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against him.
U.S. prosecutors want the 56-year-old to stand trial in the United States on fraud charges connected to the sale of Autonomy, the software company he founded and led, to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in an $11 billion deal in 2011.
Lynch has tried to stop the extradition process until a decision in a London civil case brought by Hewlett-Packard is made public, something that is expected in the next few weeks.
Last year, a judge at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled Lynch could be extradited, and also rejected his attempt to delay Home Secretary Priti Patel's decision on whether to agree to his extradition.
On Wednesday, the High Court in London rejected his challenge to the Westminster Magistrates ruling.
The court's decision means that Patel, who also wanted to wait until after the verdict was given in the civil trial, must now give her decision in the next few days.
Whatever Patel concludes will not be the end of the matter as Lynch is likely to appeal if she approves his extradition.
In the meantime, a long-awaited judgement on the multibillion-dollar Autonomy civil case will also finally be made public shortly, some two years after the trial ended.
Hewlett-Packard is suing Lynch along with his former finance chief Sushovan Hussain for more than $5 billion, alleging they inflated the value of the British data firm before selling it. Lynch and Hussain have denied the allegations.
HP bought Autonomy, whose software searches and sorts data, in 2011 but a year later it wrote down its value by $8.8 billion, saying it had uncovered serious accounting improprieties.
The U.S. software giant said Lynch was complicit in a series of fraudulent transactions to drive revenue growth at Autonomy.
During a hearing last week over Lynch's extradition challenge, London's High Court was told the result of that lawsuit should be publicised in the next two to three weeks.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Potter) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 207 542 3213; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))