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Former Autonomy CEO Michael Lynch and company beancounter Stephen Chamberlain have been formally charged with fraud in America, in what Lynch's lawyer has called a “travesty of justice.”
In short, Lynch and Chamberlain are accused of inflating Autonomy's sales numbers to hit quarterly targets so as to pocket fat performance-linked bonuses, and masquerading the business as a lucrative operation, the kind a large US corporation might want to buy.
Charges - California - Thursday - US - Prosecutors
The charges, filed in California on Thursday by US prosecutors, add to the spaghetti-tangle of legal challenges that arose out of HP's ill-fated $11bn acquisition of Autonomy in 2011. About a year after the ink dried on that deal, HP complained it was misled over Autonomy's financial position and performance, and suffered an $8.8bn writedown as a result of the beleaguered acquisition. The air has been thick with lawsuits flying between each side ever since.
And then there are the criminal cases: in April this year, ex-Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain was found guilty of fraud in California after cooking the books to persuade HP to gobble up the Brit software biz for billions of dollars.
Allegations - Lynch - CEO - Autonomy - Accounts
The latest criminal allegations note that Lynch was responsible, as CEO, for certifying Autonomy's accounts, and for the accuracy of statements made to shareholders and others about the company's “products, revenue and expenses, and its potential for growth.” Chamberlain, as vice president of finance, was responsible for pulling together the company's accounts.
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A pox on both their houses!