Hewlett-Packard has turned up the heat on the former boss of Autonomy accusing Mike Lynch of fraud for the first time as the vendor looks to pin the blame for the disastrous purchase of the UK firm squarely on the shoulders of its former CEO.
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The US vendor took an $8.8bn (£5.2bn) hit following the ill-fated acquisition in 2011 of UK-based Autonomy, $5bn of which it says was tied to alleged accounting misrepresentations.
HP filed documents at a federal court in San Francisco yesterday, and have pointed the finger squarely at Mike Lynch, Autonomy’s founder, and ex-chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain. While the war of words has raged for two years, the filing marks the first time that HP has directly accused the duo of fraud.
Shareholders initially attempted to sue HP for the catastrophic acquisition of Autonomy, but have since agreed to a settlement, pending approval from the courts.
"The shareholder plaintiffs who originally sued HP's directors and officers now agree that Hussain, along with Autonomy's founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be held accountable for this fraud," HP said in the filing.
Hussain sought to block the settlement, claiming that HP was attempting to cover up its own failings in the take-over; however, the technology giant dismissed the efforts as ‘ludicrous’, saying that the former-CFO was pretending to side with shareholders when in fact he was “one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on HP that precipitated this litigation”.
Both Lynch and Hussain continue to deny any wrongdoing.