Autonomy founder Mike Lynch cleared in $11bn US fraud trial

  • Representatives and prosecutors say Lynch was cleared on all 15 charges 

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch was last night cleared of fraud by a US court relating to the multi-billion dollar sale of his software firm.

The 58-year-old, who was extradited to the United States last year to face trial, was acquitted alongside former finance executive Stephen Chamberlain.

The verdict by the San Francisco jury marks a major victory for Dr Lynch, who has been dogged by legal problems since the disastrous sale of his company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard  (HP) for $11.7bn (£8.3bn).

Dr Lynch was accused of deliberately overstating the value of Autonomy, a business he founded in Cambridge in 1996, before it was acquired by the US technology firm in 2011.

His team had always denied any wrongdoing, arguing that HP had not completed its due diligence sufficiently and failed to understand what it was purchasing.

Representatives for Lynch and prosecutors said Dr Lynch was cleared on all 15 charges – one count of conspiracy, and 14 counts of wire fraud, each connected to specific transactions or communications. 

Mr Chamberlain, who faced the same charges at trial alongside Mr Lynch, was also acquitted on all counts, the Lynch representative said.

A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in San Francisco said: ‘We acknowledge and respect the verdict.

‘We would like to thank the jury for its attentiveness to the evidence the government presented in this case.’

Dr Lynch previously served on a science group that advised the prime minister and was awarded an OBE for services to enterprise in 2006.