HP accuses ex-Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch of fraud

War of words between HP and Autonomy boss hots up, with Mike Lynch declaring fraud comments a "personal smear"

Mike Lynch, Autonomy founder

HP claims former Autonomy boss Mike Lynch should be held accountable for fraud, as the legal battle surrounding the hardware giant's takeover of the Cambridge-based software player rumbles on.

In papers filed with the federal court in San Francisco, HP has accused Lynch, along with former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain, of fraud.

The vendor said it also plans to sue Hussain, who has been embroiled in a bid to block several shareholder settlements relating to HP's 2011 acquisition of Autonomy.

Hussain's issues relate to the decision to excuse a slew of past and present HP executives from having to pay shareholders damages.

Instead, it was ruled that the shareholders would work with HP to pursue claims against the likes of Lynch and Hussain.

"The notion that [Hussain] should be permitted to intervene and challenge the substance of a settlement designed to protect the interests of the company he defrauds is ludicrous," the court filing states.

"The shareholder plaintiffs, who originally sued HP's directors and officers, now agree that Hussain, along with Autonomy's founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be held accountable for fraud."

The wording used in the filing is markedly stronger than HP has employed in the past, where it's made vague references to "financial impropriety" at Autonomy.

According to a report on the BBC, Lynch has described the comments as a "personal smear."

A spokesperson told the broadcaster: "This breathless ranting from HP is the sort of personal smear we've come to expect.

"As the emotional outbursts go up, the access to facts seems to go down," it added.

The two parties have been at loggerheads since November 2012, when HP claimed "serious accounting improprieties" took place at Autonomy before it was acquired, which may have misled the company about its true value.

This was on the back of the $8.8 billion write down HP was forced to swallow in the wake of the deal. 

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