US files criminal charges against Irish born Mike Lynch over HP sale

Mike Lynch is accused of making false statements that inflated the value of software company Autonomy

The United States has filed criminal charges against Mike Lynch over the $11 billion (£8.6 billion) sale of the British software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard HPE.N seven years ago, the FT reported on Friday.

Autonomy's former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain was convicted of fraud in April.

Software giant Autonomy was seen as a runaway British success story at the time of its $10.3bn (£8bn) sale to HP.

In 2011, when Autonomy was sold to Hewlett-Packard, it was based in Cambridge and San Francisco and specialised in analysis of large scale unstructured big data.

Along with a number of alleged co-conspirators, including his vice president of finance, it has been said that the price of the company was artificially kept high and a number of misleading statements were made to analysts and regulators.

"There was no conspiracy at Autonomy and no fraud against HP for the DoJ to take up".

The indictment alleges that Mr Lynch conspired with individuals to engage in a fraudulent scheme to "deceive purchasers and sellers of Autonomy securities and HP about the true performance of Autonomy's business, financial condition and prospects for growth".

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While the results for HP in the fourth quarter were rosy, the company is still counting the costs from the fall-out of Hewlett-Packard's ill-fated acquisition of United Kingdom tech firm Autonomy, the software giant founded by Irish-born entrepreneur Mike Lynch. They said the U.S.is making Lynch a "scapegoat" for HP's "long history of failed acquisitions".

The Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom halted a two-year investigation into HP's acquisition of Autonomy back in January 2015.

They said the U.S. allegations are stale and meritless and reject them emphatically.

Lawyers for Mr Lynch called the indictment a "travesty of justice" and HP was using the fraud allegations to make up for its own "crippling errors". "He has done nothing wrong and will vigorously defend the charges against him".

It has emerged that Lynch has been charged with fraud in the US.

He was chief executive of Autonomy for more than 15 years, helping it to become one of the UK's most successful technology companies on the FTSE100.

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