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Autonomy’s former finance chief charged with fraud over Hewlett-Packard deal


Sushovan Hussain is accused of trying to deceive investors and HP about the software companys performance in the runup to the $11bn takeover in 2011

The former chief financial officer of British software company Autonomy has been indicted in the US for allegedly defrauding investors and Hewlett-Packard about his firms performance before its sale in 2011.

Sushovan Hussain, a British resident who was Autonomys finance chief at the time of its $11bn acquisition by HP, was charged in an indictment filed on Thursday in federal court in San Francisco with conspiracy and wire fraud.

The indictment alleged that beginning in October 2009, Hussain and others sought to deceive Autonomys investors and HP about the companys performance, financial condition and prospects for growth.

The scheme had several objectives, the indictment said, including to artificially increase and maintain Autonomys share price to make the company attractive to potential buyers like HP.

Hussain, who remains in the United Kingdom, has not been arrested. John Keker, his lawyer, said in a statement on Friday that Hussain was innocent and would be acquitted at trial.

He defrauded no one and, as Autonomys CFO, acted at all times with the highest standards of honesty, integrity and competence, Keker said.

The indictment marked the latest fallout from the deal, which was supposed to form the central part of HPs move into software but instead led the U.S. company a year later to write-off three-quarters of Autonomys value.

Last year, HP sued Autonomys co-founder Mike Lynch and Hussain, seeking $5.1bn in a lawsuit that accused them of engaging in fraudulent activities to boost the companys value.

Both men have denied wrongdoing. Lynch countersued HP last year, saying at the time that HP was simply incompetent in its operation of Autonomy, and the acquisition was doomed from the very beginning.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for former Autonomy management, including Lynch and Hussain, said that the group was certain of Hussains innocence and HP lied to the markets and shareholders.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/12/autonomys-former-finance-chief-charged-with-over-hewlett-packard-deal