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US prosecutors whack another three charges on list against ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch over $11bn HP biz gobble

What interesting timing

US prosecutors have slapped three more criminal charges on ex-Autonomy chief exec Mike Lynch, accusing him of securities and wire fraud regarding HP's acquisition of his company.

Lynch, once dubbed Britain's answer to Bill Gates, flogged Autonomy, a software company he founded, to the American tech titan in 2011 for $11bn (£6bn). A year later, HP was forced to write down $8.8bn as a result of that biz gobble, claiming the Brit upstart had "outright misrepresented" its value.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is now suing Lynch and Autonomy financial chief Sushovan Hussain in England, demanding $5bn in damages regarding the debacle.

That High Court trial is due to start in London this coming Monday, and run throughout the year. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

In 2018, Hussain was found guilty by a US criminal court of wire fraud and other crimes in connection with the acquisition, and is awaiting sentencing. We understand he plans to immediately appeal.

Over in the States

Meanwhile, in America, prosecutors are pulling together a criminal case against Lynch and Autonomy beancounter Stephen Chamberlain, again over the HP acquisition.

In November last year, Lynch and Chamberlain were formally charged in California with fraud. Specifically, they stand accused of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud.

In short, it is alleged the pair inflated Autonomy's sales numbers to hit quarterly targets so as to pocket fat performance-linked bonuses, and fraudulently misrepresented the business as a lucrative operation in the run up to HP up gobbling the company.

On Friday this week, in a revised indictment [PDF], Lynch and Chamberlain were additionally charged with wire fraud and conspiracy. Lynch was also charged with securities fraud, which can land you in the clink for up to 25 years if convicted, bringing the total charges against him to 17, and 16 for Chamberlain.

Both men deny any wrongdoing. It is understood American officials hope to extradite Lynch, at least, from his home country of Britain to the States to stand trial. ®

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