Former Autonomy finance boss fights back in HP row

Hewlett-Packard Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Hewlett-Packard accused Mr Hussain of being "one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on HP"

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) has been accused in a court filing of "mismanagement" in its 2011 takeover of UK software firm Autonomy.

Autonomy's ex-chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain said HP wanted to "cover up its mismanagement of the Autonomy integration".

Mr Hussain's San Francisco court filing is the latest salvo in an ongoing legal battle between HP and Autonomy.

HP dismissed Mr Hussain's complaint as "preposterous".

HP paid $11.1bn for Autonomy, but a year later said it was worth $8.8bn less.

HP and its shareholders have been fighting a legal battle, accusing both Autonomy's founder and former chief executive Michael Lynch, as well as Mr Hussain, of misleading them over the true value of the company.

On 5 August, in a San Francisco court filing, HP said that shareholders and management agreed "that [Mr] Hussain, along with Autonomy's founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be accountable for this fraud".

And it accused Mr Hussain of being "one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on HP".

'Swells with bile'

In Tuesday's response, Mr Hussain said he wanted to "shine a light on what HP wants to keep in the dark" and address its "ploy to falsely accuse others".

"HP's opposition swells with bile, but its sound and fury signify nothing," he wrote.

But HP countered Mr Hussain's filing in strong terms.

"The bottom line is that Sushovan Hussain's interests and those of HP and our shareholders are diametrically opposed," the company said in a statement.

"It's preposterous for him to complain about HP and our shareholders joining forces and holding him accountable for the massive fraud that both believe he perpetrated upon the company.

"If [Mr] Hussain is truly interested in clearing his name, he should welcome the coming suit."


More than a year ago, the UK's accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, (FRC) began an investigation into Autonomy's reporting for the accounting period of January 2009 to June 2011, before it was bought by the US firm HP.

That is still under way.

The UK's Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice are also investigating.

Autonomy said at the time it was "fully confident in the financial reporting of the company".

The HP board members that championed the takeover have since left the company.

Meg Whitman took the helm at HP in September 2011, as the Autonomy takeover was being completed.

HP is currently in the middle of a restructuring plan that involves deep job cuts.

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