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Mike Lynch arrives at federal court in San Francisco on Monday

British technology entrepreneur Mike Lynch appears in court in the US as his fraud trial continues.

Lynch, once dubbed Britain’s Bill Gates, is accused of overinflating the value of his software company when he sold it to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011.

The 58-year-old, who faces 16 charges, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. He denies the claims.

He was extradited to the US last year after a British judge ruled in favor of HP in a similar civil fraud case.

In his opening arguments, Lynch’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, said the tycoon was preparing to take the stand at trial as he seeks to defend a record that has been severely damaged since the sale of the Autonomy firm for more than $11 billion . .

At the time, the deal was considered the largest ever acquisition of a British technology company.

But just a year later, HP wrote down Autonomy’s value by $8.8 billion, claiming the company had been misled into paying too much for the business.

Mr Weingarten told the jury that Mr Lynch had focused on technology and left the finances to others.

“Mike had many sleepless nights worrying about autonomy, but not about accounting,” Weingarten said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Mr. Lynch co-founded Autonomy in 1996.

It grew to become one of Britain’s 100 largest listed companies, known for its software that could extract useful information from ‘unstructured’ sources such as phone calls, emails or video.

U.S. prosecutors in San Francisco say Lynch backdated agreements to deceive about the company’s sales; hid the company’s loss-making operations by reselling hardware; and intimidated or paid people who voiced their concerns, among others.

In court filings, his lawyers have argued that the “real reason for the writedown” was HP’s inability to manage the merger.

“When the stock price collapsed under the weight of his own mismanagement, he went around in circles to protect his new leaders and deliberately accused Lynch of fraud,” they wrote.

Mr Lynch, a former British government adviser who served on the boards of the BBC and the British Library, has fought vigorously against attempts by US prosecutors to bring him to justice in America, which is known for its punitive approach to white collar crime.

In 2019, Autonomy’s former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain was sentenced to five years in prison and fined millions of dollars on 16 counts of fraud, securities fraud and other charges.

In 2022, HP won a civil fraud case against Mr Lynch and Hussain, heard in London’s High Court. It is now seeking a reported $4 billion.

In that case, Mr. Lynch and Hussain argued that HP’s claim was “manufactured” to cover and justify a change in corporate mindset, and to brand them as scapegoats for what is in reality the remorse of the buyer is, linked to management errors”.

In addition to Mr Lynch, Stephen Chamberlain, Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, is also on trial.

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