Ex-Autonomy CFO to appeal HP fraud conviction
The lawyer for ex-Autonomy finance chief Sushovan Hussain says an appeal will be lodged against his conviction on 16 counts of wire and securities fraud allegedly committed ahead of the American giant’s £11 billion acquisition of the Cambridge technology business in 2011.
A meeting to determine his bail and sentencing arrangements will be held this Friday; each charge carries a potential 20-year jail sentence and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution. So Hussain could have to pay back up to $4bn unless his conviction is quashed on appeal.
HP is also suing him and former Autonomy CEO Dr Mike Lynch in the UK High Court for a further $5.1bn. Lynch is counter-suing for more than $150m damages, alleging slander by HP. The UK cases may not be heard until next year.
A San Francisco court upheld HP’s claim that Hussain had effectively cooked the books and inflated Autonomy’s real value ahead of the takeover. Hussain vehemently denies the allegations.
Autonomy chiefs countered by saying that HP – not for the first time – had simply messed up the due diligence process and also failed to understand the way software company accounts were calculated. Dr Lynch has always insisted that there was no wrongdoing.
Hussain’s lawyer John Keker said: “Mr Hussain defrauded no one and acted at all times with the highest standards of honesty, integrity and competence.
“It is a shame that the United States Department of Justice lent its support to HP's campaign to blame others for its own catastrophic failings.”
He claimed that important evidence that backed up Hussain's defence had been excluded from the trial.
The UK case involving Dr Lynch will be followed with avid interest. His Cambridge and London based Invoke Capital fund has invested significant amounts into European technology businesses and supported Cambridge ventures such as cyber security ace Darktrace, behaviour analytics specialist Featurespace and healthtech business SOPHiA GENETICS.