Battle lines drawn in UK tech billionaire Lynch's U.S. extradition fight
By Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - British tech billionaire Michael Lynch on Tuesday began his fight against extradition to the United States to face charges over the sale of the software company he co-founded, in a test of an extradition treaty critics say is lopsided. U.S.
By Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) - British tech billionaire Michael Lynch on Tuesday began his fight against extradition to the United States to face charges over the sale of the software company he co-founded, in a test of an extradition treaty critics say is lopsided.
U.S. prosecutors want the 55-year-old to stand trial in the United States on 17 counts, including securities fraud, connected to the sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in an $11 billion deal in 2011.
Lynch categorically denies the charges.
The battle lines were drawn over whether the British or the American legal system should take precedence.
Lynch's lawyer, Alex Bailin, told Westminster Magistrates' Court that the United States was not the "global marshal" of the corporate world.
"We say this case belongs here in Britain; it concerns events, the overwhelming majority of which occurred in the United Kingdom, involving a British citizen with strong lifelong connections to the United Kingdom in relation to a UK company whose shares were listed on the London Stock Exchange," he said.
Bailin said extradition should be denied on grounds of the "forum bar", a provision that gives courts the power to refuse extradition if it is more appropriate to hear the case in Britain.
"The Department of Justice can't usurp the role of British law enforcement authorities and UK courts," he said.
"The protection the forum bar provides is a critical safeguard for the rest of us. And that's why this case matters."
The United States, however, said that although Autonomy was an "English company cooking its' books in England", it had persuaded an American company to overpay for it.
"Let's have a reality check," its lawyer Mark Summers said.
"(Lynch) may be a UK citizen, he may have long UK links, but once he aimed his dishonest activities at the USA on such a monumental scale, he cannot expect - just as any other English CEO could not expect - to be immune from the American justice system."
As such, he said, it was "resoundingly" a case for the U.S. criminal justice system to resolve.
HP has already sued Lynch and Autonomy's former finance chief, Sushovan Hussain, in London for $5 billion, arguing that they fraudulently inflated the company's value before the sale.
Judgment in the civil trial, during which Lynch took the stand to argue that HP mismanagement had destroyed Autonomy's value, is awaited. The extradition ruling will follow that judgment.
The case raises questions about Britain's extradition treaty with the United States, an agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said is "imbalanced".
British lawmaker and former cabinet minister David Davis was in court.
He was one of five former British cabinet ministers, including four from the ruling Conservative Party, who signed a letter to the Times newspaper last month arguing that Lynch must not be extradited.
"The government cannot stand by as another Briton risks being delivered like this to the U.S. justice system," the letter said.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alex Richardson and Bernadette Baum)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.