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Autonomy's ex-chief beancounter tries to kill HP investor settlement

Tech titan trying to 'forever bury' multi-billion writedown, claims bloke

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Autonomy's former chief financial officer has sought to block HP from settling three shareholder lawsuits over its botched acquisition of the British software company.

The former exec claims HP will use the settlements to "forever bury" its supposed culpability in the calamitous buy.

Sushovan Hussain, who served as Autonomy's CFO until its 2011 acquisition by HP, asked in documents filed in San Francisco on Monday for the US District Court to reject a settlement with shareholders HP was said to have reached last month.

"By this settlement, HP seeks to forever bury from disclosure the real reason for its 2012 write-down of Autonomy: HP's own destruction of Autonomy's success after the acquisition," the filing reads.

"And by the broad bar order it seeks, HP seeks to absolve itself of its own responsibility for its losses."

HP bought UK data search and analysis company Autonomy for $10.7bn in 2011. In November 2012 it claimed it had found "serious accounting improprieties" that caused it to write off $8.8bn from the transaction.

This led to a massive selloff of HP shares. Autonomy has denied any wrongdoing, and has long argued that it played by the rules and that some HP executives knew about its accounting practices prior to the acquisition.

Now Hussain is requesting the release of documents relating to the acquisition, in addition to internal HP reports that allegedly cleared certain HP executives from coming under legal scrutiny. Hussein himself is a target in a planned HP lawsuit against former Autonomy managers.

"Mr Hussain's opposition to the settlement is baseless," an HP spokesperson said in a statement emailed to El Reg.

Former Autonomy founder and chief executive Mike Lynch hit back at HP in a lengthy statement sent to The Register.

"This motion reveals the depth of the corruption that permeates the settlement," Lynch said.

"The lawyers who spent more than a year documenting the errors and misrepresentations of HP executives in their acquisition and integration of Autonomy have been bought off by the promise of tens of millions of dollars. HP and its executives, who squandered billions of dollars and produced a report whitewashing the whole affair, avoid answering a single question.

"And the shareholders who have borne the losses get nothing, and learn nothing about what really happened. Three years on shareholders deserve more than this, they deserve answers. Meg Whitman needs to give those answers under the threat of perjury." ®

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