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Blighty's SFO 'not conflicted' on Autonomy numbers probe

Anti-fraud bods not biased ... even though they may be using the firm's software

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Blighty's Serious Fraud Office has said that there's no conflict of interest in its criminal investigation into Autonomy, despite reports that the SFO itself uses the firm's document management tool Introspect.

The SFO was called in to look into allegations from new owners HP of accounting irregularities and misrepresentations at Autonomy, which, it is claimed, were designed to secure the go-ahead for the buyout. But following reports that the SFO used an Autonomy product, it said it would first have to assess whether it was conflicted in the case.

SFO head David Green has now told Reuters that the investigation is going ahead.

"We are not conflicted on Autonomy," he said.

Green didn't say whether the office had figured out that it didn't actually use any Autonomy tech or it didn't think that the use of its products would represent a conflict of interest. The SFO had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.

Late last year, HP announced that it had had to write down $8.8bn on its $10.7bn slurp of Autonomy and accused the British company of cooking its books to make itself a more attractive prospect.

Autonomy's former chief exec Mike Lynch, who stands accused, along with other execs, of deceptive practices, has been vocal in his denials of the US firm's claims. The case is now being investigated by the SFO, the US Department of Justice and the SEC. ®

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