Monday, June 17, 2024

British tech founder Mike Lynch refutes allegations of defrauding HP in US criminal trial

Trial of Mike Lynch in HP-Autonomy Fraud Case: Founder Denies Wrongdoing and Defends Company

Tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Steve Jobs, is currently on trial in San Francisco in connection with Hewlett-Packard’s disastrous $11 billion acquisition of his software company Autonomy in 2011.

Lynch, who denied wrongdoing, testified that he was not involved in the alleged accounting fraud that led to HP writing down Autonomy’s value by $8.8 billion in 2012. He stated that others were in charge of accounting while he focused on technology and marketing.

Prosecutors have charged Lynch and former Autonomy finance executive Stephen Chamberlain with fraud and conspiracy, accusing them of inflating the company’s revenue through back-dated agreements and fake contracts to entice a buyer.

The trial, which began in mid-March, has seen over 30 government witnesses testify, including former HP chief executive Leo Apotheker. Lynch’s defense team claims that HP rushed through due diligence before the sale and that Lynch was focused on tech issues, leaving financial matters to others.

Despite HP’s civil lawsuit victory against Lynch and Hussain in 2022, where damages of $4 billion are being sought, Lynch maintains that HP did not understand his technology and was out of its depth with Autonomy.

This trial marks a pivotal moment for Lynch, who faces potential prison time if convicted. As one of the UK’s leading tech entrepreneurs, Lynch has drawn comparisons to Jobs and Gates. The Autonomy deal, intended to fuel HP’s software business, has instead led to a series of bitter and expensive legal battles.

Stay tuned for more updates on this high-profile trial.

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