(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government approved the extradition of Mike Lynch to the U.S. to face criminal fraud charges, hours after a London judge ruled the tech tycoon was dishonest in the $11 billion sale of his company.

The extradition decision by Home Secretary Priti Patel Friday doesn’t mean that Lynch will be getting on a plane anytime soon. Lynch can appeal the order and a separate court’s decision allowing his extradition. 

It’s the latest in more than a decade of twists and turns following the 2011 sale of Lynch’s Autonomy Corp. to Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. A year after the sale, the Silicon Valley hardware giant wrote down the value of the deal by $8.8 billion. 

In 2015, HP filed suit against Lynch and the company’s vice president of finance, seeking $5 billion in damages. Earlier Friday, the judge in that case said HP was “induced” into buying the company. Lynch, who earned more than $800 million from the deal, was “well aware” of the fraudulent strategies to dress up the British-based software company ahead of the purchase, the judge said.

The U.S. government in 2018 charged Lynch and the finance chief with 13 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy, alleging they artificially inflated sales figures in a bid to meet or exceed analysts’ quarterly expectations, keeping the share price high and making the company appear attractive to a buyer. 

The decision on one of Britain’s most high-profile tech businessmen -- and a one-time adviser to former Prime Minister David Cameron -- was viewed as a test of the U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty, which critics call highly unequal. The U.S. has refused one U.K. extradition request, while the U.K. has refused 24. Last month, a judge allowed the extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. to face charges, a ruling that is being appealed. 

Patel and the Conservative Party have regularly fought the courts and are considering ways to curtail the powers of judges. 

“Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Secretary of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made,” the Home Office said in an emailed statement. 

Lynch has been battling extradition in the U.K. courts. He lost a first attempt when a judge said in July he should be sent to the U.S. He’d insisted from the outset that the case should not be heard in the U.S., asserting that none of the alleged misconduct took place overseas.

 

(Updates with number of extradition refusals in 6th paragraph.)

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