back to article Autonomy founder's anti-extradition case is like saying Moon made of cheese, US govt tells UK court

Mike Lynch has branded a judge's decision to not delay the process deadline for his extradition to the US on allegations of fraud as "perverse" and "irrational" – while the US government said his legal arguments were like saying "the Moon is made of cheese." The one-time chief exec of British software firm Autonomy wants to …

  1. Disk0
    Pirate

    Buyers’ remorse

    “I bought an HP printer and it turns out they hiked the price by a massive margin and now I am stuck with expensive supplies and a shoddy hackable printer that leaks data”They got played at their own game - was this Fiorina?

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Buyers’ remorse

      Not a bad analogy actually. Anyone with any sense will try to find out running costs vs upfront el cheapo costs of a printer. If you can't be bothered to do that (as opposed to not being capable) then don't come cryin'

      Caveat Emptor and all that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buyers’ remorse

      HP has to get the money that they spent on Autonomy back somehow don't they eh?

      HP was once a great company. They cared for their customers and staff. Then... Carly and friends arrived. I saw it disintegrate from the inside. I got out in 1997 but because of their purchases, I was back a few years later. The place was overrun with boot lickers and bean counters.

      I don't trust the US Gubbermint. Millions of $$$$ in campaign donations has ensured that the right people are in the right jobs in DC. While Lynch is a shyster sending him across the pond will result in him being fined a few hundred million and spending 110 years in jail. All because the idiots at HP and their advisors didn't do their due diligence properly.

      The USA does not have a justice system. It has an injustice system. After all, how can so many politicians who are lawyers pass so many useless laws?

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

        Re: Buyers’ remorse

        "All because the idiots at HP and their advisors didn't do their due diligence properly."

        We get it. They are idiots. I think that has been proved throughout this case beyond doubt.

        Unfortunately however, that's not actually what this case is about. This case is about : did Autonomy falsely and knowingly misreport the company growth and financials that attracted HP in the first place. I've been following this from day #1 and I have a growing sense of fear for Mike Lynch, in that they did :-(

        Deloitte have already settled and taken sanctions for their part in it which isn't a good look for anyone.

        I do still have my fingers crossed for him though - as I'd love to see the HP "leaders" shown up to be the C suite tw@'s that they are.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

          remember Ferranti? (Well, younger readers won't, so try https://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/18/business/company-news-ferranti-charges-fraud-in-us-deal.html )

          "Ferranti International Signal P.L.C., the British military contractor, said it lost more than $157 million in cash because of fraud in its acquisition of the United States company International Signal and Control. In total, Ferranti said its loss was the equivalent of $338 million as a result of what it called ''a serious fraud'' involving bogus contracts that it unwittingly inherited when it bought the American company in November 1987. Ferranti's deputy managing director, Charles Scott, told a news conference that about half the loss represented cash spirited out of the American concern, the vast majority before the Ferranti takeover."

          I also recall significant 'off-balance-sheet debt' being. feature of the demise of Ferranti, and seems to be, sort of, legal:

          https://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/obsf.asp

          Reminds me of the 'joke':

          What is 2 plus 2?

          Mathematician: 4.

          Engineer: somewhere between 3 and 5.

          Accountant: "What would you like it to be?"

          1. a pressbutton

            Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

            Actuary : When?

            Economist : It was 4 last time but the theory says 3.9

            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

              SAGE adviser: "Between 150-300,000 per day"

            2. RegGuy1 Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

              Mathematician: 4 == 3.9 recurring[1]; to be precise.

              [1] Sorry can't add a dot. I'll get my coat.

            3. Blank Reg Silver badge

              Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

              You're being far too generous with the economist, they are never that accurate.

          2. katrinab Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Buyers’ remorse _ Ferranti

            Accountant: What do the 2 and 2 represent? Should you even be adding them together?

            £2 of sales and £2 of expenses = £0 profit

            £2 of sales and £2 of trade debtors = £2 of sales that you haven't collected the money on yet.

            £2 of sales and 2 company cars = two unrelated numbers and adding them together would not give you any meaningful information.

        2. oiseau Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Buyers’ remorse

          This case is about : did Autonomy falsely and knowingly misreport the company growth and financials that attracted HP in the first place.

          For the sake of argument, lets take this as being 100% truth, which I doubt it is.

          Form the start of bartering (maybe 4500 years ago or more), absolutely everyone selling something presents it as something worth [A] when it is most probably worth [B] which equals [A*0.85].

          From used cars, to houses, to sex, etc., etc., etc.

          We've all been there at some time or another.

          This to the extent that many oriental cultures consider it a must.

          You have to barter.

          When the bartering starts, you call in your trusted advisors (in this case HPs CFO and Deloitte) and get an evaluation of [A] and from there a reasonable value for [B].

          But Deloitte fucked up royally and the CFO caved in and went along, apparently under protest.

          Deloitte got off the hook by returning what were probably the consultation fees and some document saying that they did nothing wrong.

          In another life I had the opportunity to, as a junior needing temporary office space, share said space with some of these Deloiite types while at work.

          I'm certain they fucked up somewhere, maybe even knowingly.

          The 15 heavyweight legal firms/banks advising HP on the deal got off scott free.

          None of them (15 in all) saw a red light anywhere.

          Morons maybe?

          And the HPs shareholders who objected and sued got a deal for pocket money which obviously came out of their own dividends pot.

          And it turns out that Lynch is actually the guilty party?

          This is all a sad and tragic charade but no one in the public makes the right questions.

          eg:

          Just whose 8.8 billion worth of moolah did HP happily flush down the toilet?

          Why does no one point fingers at those really responsible?

          And then there's (by this time) the absurd delay in the High Court Judgement.

          I really hope they leave Lynch alone.

          O.

          1. BurnedOut

            Re: Buyers’ remorse

            I think you mean "haggle" (bargaining to arrive at agreed price), not "barter" which means the exchange of goods or services without the use of money - very much NOT the case here!

            1. oiseau Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Buyers’ remorse

              I think you mean "haggle" ...

              Indeed ...

              I stand corrected.

              Fortunately the idea (more or less) gets across.

              Thank you for mentioning it. =-)

              Best,

              O.

          2. Alex Stuart

            Re: Buyers’ remorse

            Hear hear. As usual (remember2008?) the auditors get away with it.

        3. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Buyers’ remorse

          Like you, I have been following this from the start.

          the crux of the matter is, were HP in possession of all the relevant evidence with which they needed to accurately evaluate the value of autonomy

          If they weren't, did autonomy's management wilfully defraud them by providing incorrect evidence that it should be valued higher.

          From my interpretation, Autonomy were bending some of the accounting rules, but they broke none. HP were in possession of all the facts and all the paperwork, they rushed the assessment of it through to get the transaction over the line and overvalued Autonomy.

          Basically, Leo Apotheker screwed the pooch and got fired, and Mike went laughing all the way to the bank

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Buyers’ remorse

            Commentards on this website were. Oracle were. So yes, I think so.

        4. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Buyers’ remorse

          I've been following this from day #1 and I have a growing sense of fear for Mike Lynch, in that they did :-(

          Why fear? If you think he did it, shouldn't he face some consequences? Or would you rather see a billionaire get off scot free for something that would have the rest of us behind bars for years over a fraction of that much money?

          1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

            Re: Buyers’ remorse

            Sue them in the Uk. It is absurd thet they get sent to the us.

            1. BurnedOut

              Re: Buyers’ remorse

              There's a separate civil action by HPE against Lynch in the UK - much reported on here - which has dragged on for ages! This article though is about the matter of Lynch potentially facing criminal charges in the USA, hence the question about extradition. He is not facing criminal charges in the UK because the the Serious Fraud Office considered this and eventually stated "In respect of some aspects of the allegations, the SFO has concluded that, on the information available to it, there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction." - the US authorities have taken a different view.

              I assume that there are legal reasons why another high-profile UK citizen is currently being sued in the USA, rather than in the UK, in connection with a different accusation, but at present that person does not face criminal charges so extradition is not a consideration.

        5. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Buyers’ remorse

          Just 'cos HP's top brass may have been a bunch of useless fucktards does not qualify as a "get out of jail free card" for defrauding HP while it was helmed by idiot muppets.

          One lot are useless and the other lot are crooks. Both of these would seem to be true.

      2. ForthIsNotDead

        Re: Buyers’ remorse

        I call it a vengeance system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buyers’ remorse

      Leo Apotheker was CEO, and by all accounts pushed the Autonomy purchase through.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Buyers’ remorse

        "...Leo Apotheker was CEO, and by all accounts pushed the Autonomy purchase through...."

        Indeed he was and indeed he did - against the advice of his then CFO. And worse, he threatened to fire her.

        This was a man who had no place (like so many others) at the helm of this company. He announced he planned to sell their x86 business because it wasn't profitable enough... erm, ok, Leo. At the time it may only have had something like 0.8% margin, but it also made several billions a year in profits but sure.

        It's very difficult to have any sympathy for HP. If they'd done proper due diligence. If they'd even listened to the advice of the right people, they may well not have paid over the odds.

        But, it isn't looking very good for Lynch either.

        1. BurnedOut

          Re: Buyers’ remorse

          Amazingly, or I suppose not, Apotheker is still on the boards of several companies.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When a Joke is the Best Available Option, every Slippery Slope Servers the Sticky Swamp

    And don’t get anyone started on the state of UKGBNI justice. There’s no viable pleasant excuse available for that current abortion for perilously overlong operations.

  3. msobkow Silver badge

    Like Assange, it is a matter of time, not "if" there will be an extradition. All these people do is postpone the inevitable.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That's a very poor comparison both of the cases and the proceedings. With Assange, it would have been best had he been extradited to face trial in Sweden for statutory rape. This would have dimmed his saintly nimbus somewhat.

      It seems very much like due process to wait for the judgement. But it's probably also worth pointing out that the US is, as so often, playing fast and loose with extraterritoriality in general and extradition in particular: the US never extradites its own citizens.

      To throw in my own bit of false equivalence: the current civil case against Prince Andrew is one of the biggest incidences of legal hypocrisy imaginable: the age of consent in many US states is less than 16 but I don't see many attempts to get trials moved from Tennessee or Texas moved to New York state. Not that I'm sticking up for Prince Andrew, I just don't think that particular case has much merit and certainly doesn't deserve the coverage it gets.

      1. Julian Bradfield

        As a point of fact, the US does extradite its own citizens. Sacolas is the first declined request since the treaty started in 2003.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Pirate

          correction

          The US does extradite its citizens unless they are able to make very hefty campaign contributions to a large number of lawmakers. If you can do that then you get a golden handshake and welcome into the

          UNTOUCHABLES

          country club.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The US extradition rate for its own citizens is extremely low. The VAST majority of extraditions by the US to the UK is for non-US citizens.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >Sacolas is the first declined request since the treaty started in 2003.

          Declined because they know she is guilty?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Julian Bradfield "Sacolas is the first declined request since the treaty started in 2003."

          That is patently false.

          UK Home Office FOI response:

          "Between 26 April 2007 and 31 May 2014, the UK requested the extradition of 8 American citizens and as a result of those requests, 5 were extradited in that period."

        5. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          As a point of fact, the US does extradite its own citizens. Sacolas is the first declined request since the treaty started in 2003.

          Perhaps if you provided any details ideally linking to court documents your arguement would have more weight in most people's eyes

      2. Stork Silver badge

        I could imagine that other places than Denmark have a general age of consent but a higher one for, hmm, more professional relationships.

        In Denmark prostitution is legal, but you have to be 18. General age of consent is afair 15

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "To throw in my own bit of false equivalence: the current civil case against Prince Andrew is one of the biggest incidences of legal hypocrisy imaginable: the age of consent in many US states is less than 16 but I don't see many attempts to get trials moved from Tennessee or Texas moved to New York state. "

        It sure is false equivalence, it's 18 in Tennessee and 17 in Texas.

        Even in Washington state, the law is 16, but they do allow for down to 12 depending on age of the older party (under 14)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. msobkow Silver badge

        Well, I agree on the Andrew case. Apparently he is not a decent human being, but where the purported crimes were committed should determine the age of consent (or at least where she was living at the time, presuming she was flown as claimed), not the age of consent in the state where the charges were filed.

        Lacking a federal agreement on age of consent in the US, that issue should not have any federal "teeth" for the extradition in the first place.

        Still, I can't say that a have much respect for any of the "royal" family except the Queen. She is the only one to carry herself with dignity and aplomb; the others are constantly making spectacles of themselves with their antics of the rich and famous... largely the same reason I have no respect for our politicians in any nation. They're not in touch with any normal citizen's "reality", hold themselves above the law and regulations, and constantly have their hands in the taxpayers' cookie jars.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "the US never extradites its own citizens"

        Completely false. It's hard to believe you missed this, since it was in a far-left UK publication just last year, as well as pretty much all major newspapers of any political stripe worldwide: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/01/michael-peter-taylor-extradition-carlos-ghosn-nissan. There have been plenty of others if you care to read up, but this recent and high-profile example seems sufficient to put paid to this error.

        Your other example is so silly I won't bother to address it other than to suggest that you stick to sound examples if you want your indignation to be taken seriously. You could easily find good cases that support your point, so using bad ones does you no favours.

  4. Chris Miller

    Am I wrong to hope* that both sides lose?

    * Actually, this is by far the most likely outcome of any trial - only the lawyers win

  5. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    My popcorn is getting stale

    On both sides of the pond it has become a given that the rich and their lawyers can delay the inevitable ad infinitum.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    "while the US government said"

    At this point in time, what the US Gov says is worth peanuts.

    This trial is happening under UK law, not US law, and the US has nothing to say.

    At least, that's my POV.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: "while the US government said"

      The UK does what the US orders.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP, HPE and DXC are rubbish companies that action horrible treatment of staff. It's a surprise they are still a going concern, to be completely honest.

    DarkTrace has many of the execs that worked with Autonomy. The news has been covering successes of DarkTrace, but they don't understand the underlying technology. I'm suspicious of any business that relies so heavily on sales people talking rubbish. TheRegister readers can help by never working for HP, HPE, DXC and DarkTrace.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    The Moon

    Is the Grand Fromage of Satellites

  9. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    This is What Happens When You are a Poodle

    The US/UK extradition arrangements are remarkably one-sided.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is What Happens When You are a Poodle

      Indeed. Brexit, brexit, brexit, brexit.

      Can you please remove our steel tariffs?

      No, fuck off. Welcome to global Britain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is What Happens When You are a Poodle

        Oh please sir, PLEASE!

        Clear off, you threaten the GF agreement when we warned you not to. And now you are Global you are far too small to punch us back so be gone before we find another reason to slap you!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Britain ruled the waves

    Now she just caves…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Britain ruled the waves

      No, now she waives the rules.

  11. stewwy

    It could be that after the mess, they took one look at his name.

    and said "Yes!"

    1. oiseau Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      ... took one look at his name.

      Ahh ...

      You may well be on to something there.

      O.

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