Former Autonomy boss Lynch to fight United States fraud charges

Former Autonomy boss Lynch to fight United States fraud charges

British tech executive and investor Mike Lynch is facing criminal charges in the US over his role in Hewlett-Packard's disastrous $11 billion acquisition of United Kingdom software firm Autonomy in 2011.

It comes as Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy's former chief financial officer, was convicted of fraud in a United States court earlier this year.

Autonomy, a highly successful business based in Cambridge and San Francisco, was sold to HP for £8bn in 2011.

As BBC News reports, the sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard "was trumpeted as proof positive the United Kingdom could grow businesses to be the envy of the world's biggest tech giants".

HP claims that Lynch, along with Autonomy's former finance chief, Sushovan Hussain, and vice president of finance Stephen Chamberlain, overstated revenues in order to inflate the company's valuation.

The charge sheet also says they "intimidated, pressured and paid off persons who raised complaints about or openly criticized Autonomy's financial practices and performance".

However, in a statement provided to The Register, Lynch's lawyers called the indictment "a travesty of justice".

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Dr Lynch's side has always maintained there was no wrong-doing and that the claims show "at best, a difference of opinion over accounting policies - a disagreement in which two Big Four firms, Deloitte (Autonomy's auditor) and Ernst & Young (HP's firm) agree that there is nothing wrong with the pre-acquisition financials".

He had pleaded not guilty and his attorney said he planned an appeal. These stale allegations are meritless and we reject them emphatically. "It targets a British citizen with rehashed allegations about a British company regarding events that occurred in Britain a decade ago", Lynch's lawyers said in a statement.

British entrepreneur Lynch co-founded Autonomy.

The UK Serious Fraud Office in 2015 dropped its investigation into the Autonomy sale because it found "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction" and left the Department of Justice to complete its investigation, resulting in the fraud charges against Lynch.

Allegedly, Mr Lynch made $815m from the fourteen charges.

For those who came in late, HP bought Autonomy as part of its then CEO's Leo Apotheker cunning plan to turn the maker of expensive printer ink into SAP.

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