Feeds

UK Serious Fraud Office queues up to probe HP's Autonomy allegations

...using Autonomy's own software

Boost IT visibility and business value

The UK Serious Fraud Office has told The Register it is investigating allegations of accounting irregularities at Autonomy, the Brit software house gobbled by HP for $10.7bn in 2011.

In November last year, Hewlett-Packard claimed Autonomy "outright misrepresented" its value in the months before its acquisition, causing HP to take a $8.8bn financial hit at the end of 2012. Hewlett-Packard then contacted the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and said it intended to file criminal and civil charges where appropriate to "seek redress for HP shareholders".

The SFO, a government department that answers to the attorney general, confirmed today that it launched a probe into Autonomy on 6 February. HP told investors in a 10-Q filing to the SEC, published on Monday, that it is cooperating with Blighty's fraud busters.

Until now the SFO was merely examining the allegations against Autonomy; HP believes the British search software maker inflated its value by $5bn. These claims were rejected by Autonomy co-founder and former chief executive Mike Lynch, who denies any wrongdoing.

But the UK’s complex corruption investigators may step aside due to a potential conflict of interest: the office uses Autonomy’s Introspect software for document management.

“The SFO is keen to ensure that there is now no conflict of interest or perception of such a conflict, and it is obliged as a first step to make inquiries to ensure that it can continue as the investigating body. It is undertaking this work at present,” the SFO said in a statement.

The US Department of Justice is also scrutinising HP's claims against Autonomy. According to the PC maker, writing in its 10-Q filing:

HP has provided information to the UK Serious Fraud Office, the US Department of Justice and the SEC related to the accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy that occurred prior to and in connection with HP's acquisition of Autonomy.

“On 6 February, 2013, representatives of the UK Serious Fraud Office advised HP that they had also opened an investigation relating to Autonomy.

So far there’s been no word of the SFO inquiry on the AutonomyAccounts.org website set up by Lynch in December to counter HP’s allegations. The most recent announcement, posted on 11 February, is a response to the news that the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will inspect the Brit software company's accounts. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.