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Belgian taxpayers will be relieved to know that Jo Lernout, former director of speech recognition specialists Lernout & Hauspie, made positive use of his brief spell in prison.

While serving time on remand during an international fraud investigation, Lernout invented a robotic guinea pig called Gupi.

Since his release without charge the former corporate boss has continued to develop Gupi, Gazet van Antwerpen reports.

"Gupi has a memory of his own, can walk on a table without tumbling over the edge, makes sounds of approval when being cuddled and falls asleep when it's getting dark," he said.

Which is nice.

Lernout hopes to put Gupi into production and begin selling the product within weeks for around £60, Ananova reports.

Meanwhile an investigation into alleged financial malpractice at L&H continues.

L&H went bankrupt in November 2000, three months after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company's exponential revenue growth came from questionable sales in Korea and Singapore, where L&H recognised the majority of its revenue in early 2000. The accounting scandal rocked the company, leading to government investigations in the United States and Belgium.

L&H, once Europe's second biggest software company, is now defunct. ®

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Whatever happened to the likely lads? (Interview with a former L&H business partner [in French])

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