FBI called in to investigate HP's Autonomy allegations, source claims

News 22 Nov, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into hardware giant's claims about UK software company.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reportedly probing HP’s accusations of accounting improprieties at UK software house Autonomy.

The hardware giant announced earlier this week that it had been forced to stomach a $8.8 billion writedown relating to its $11.1 billion acquisition of Cambridge-based Autonomy last year.

The firm more than $5 billion of this charge had been caused by “accounting improprieties” and “disclosure failures” by the Autonomy team in the lead up to the deal.

HP has alerted the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Enforcement Division, inviting them to carry out a criminal investigation into the case.

According to a report on Bloomberg Businessweek, the SEC is understood to have enlisted the FBI to probe HP’s allegations.

A source, speaking to the publication on condition of anonymity, said the allegations are being examined, but it is too soon to say if the FBI will act on them.

The accusations have been fiercely denied by former Autonomy CEO, Mike Lynch, since news of the allegations broke on Tuesday.

In an interview with Sky News, he said: “HP came in with about 300 people, crawled over everything and you know what? They found nothing. And you know why? There was nothing to find.

“What actually happened is that they mismanaged Autonomy and in doing that have destroyed a lot of shareholder value," he added.