HP says UK Serious Fraud Office is investigating Autonomy case

12 Mar 2013

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Dr Mike Lynch, Autonomy founder and former CEO

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HP has disclosed in a financial filing that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into the allegations surrounding HP’s US$11bn acquisition of Mike Lynch’s Autonomy, which was later written down by US$8.8bn.

Irish-born Dr Mike Lynch has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has in turn alleged that the acquisition of his Cambridge-based software company had been mishandled by HP.

In the 10-Q filing HP said: “As a result of the findings of an ongoing investigation, HP has provided information to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC related to the accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy that occurred prior to and in connection with HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. On November 21, 2012, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice advised HP that they had opened an investigation relating to Autonomy. On February 6, 2013, representatives of the U.K. Serious Fraud Office advised HP that they had also opened an investigation relating to Autonomy. HP is co-operating with the three investigating agencies.”

According to AllThingsD, Lynch has hired Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson as his defence lawyer.

In November, HP said it had to incur a US$8.8bn write-down on its financial results for 2012 because of accounting improprieties at the company. CEO Meg Whitman said the Security and Exchange Commission, the FBI and UK police bodies were investigating the matter.

Almost immediately, Lynch rejected the allegations and accused HP of mismanaging the acquisition of Autonomy and allowing the company which specialises in enterprise search to flounder once it was within HP’s grasp.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com