HP says it will sue former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussein
Lynch and CFO: 'Breathless ranting from HP' expected
HP has confirmed that it plans to sue Sushovan Hussain, the former chief financial officer of data analytics software firm Autonomy, whom HP claims "was one of the chief architects of the massive fraud" that forced HP to write down $8.8bn of the $10.2bn it paid to acquire Autonomy in 2011.
In documents [PDF] filed with the US District Court of the Northern District of California on Monday, HP pulled no punches, saying Hussain's attempt to block HP's settlements in three shareholder lawsuits should be denied because his own interests are "diametrically opposed" to HP's.
"The notion that [Hussain] should be permitted to intervene and challenge the substance of a settlement designed to protect the interests of the company he defrauded is ludicrous," HP's attorneys write.
Describing HP as "the victims" of fraud the company claims was perpetrated by Hussain and former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch, the filing goes on to say that HP and its shareholders have agreed to settle their disputes so that they can concentrate on going after "the perpetrators."
The documents further suggest that Hussain's motion to block HP's settlements is really just a thinly veiled attempt to gain information that could help him in the event a criminal case is brought against him. Both the US Department of Justice and the UK's Serious Fraud Office have reportedly been looking into the Autonomy sale since 2012.
"Even more of consequence to him, Hussain also knows that prosecutors on both sides of the Atlantic are investigating him, that HP is cooperating with those authorities and that, until he is charged, he has no access to the information that HP is providing to the authorities," HP's lawyers write. "So Hussain, the fraudster, wraps himself in a mantle of self-righteousness in an attempt to obtain discovery that he hopes will help him stay out of prison and defend the civil litigation he expects HP will file in the UK."
In closing, the filing describes Hussain's attempt to interfere with HP's settlements as "brazen and improper" and claims he has no legal basis to object, but that he'll get his chance to speak his mind in court soon enough.
"HP is going to sue Hussain, and Hussain will be completely free to interpose any defense and to assert any counterclaims against HP or Autonomy," the filing states.
For his part, Autonomy's Lynch has strongly denied HP's accusations throughout the affair. In March, he said in an open letter that although HP had "selectively leaked documents and information to the international media," it had "not provided information or evidence to the Autonomy team to substantiate any allegation."
On Monday, a spokesperson for Lynch and Hussein told Reuters in a statement, "This breathless ranting from HP is the sort of personal smear we've come to expect. As the emotional outbursts go up, the access to facts seems to go down. Meg Whitman is buying off a bunch of lawyers so she doesn't have to answer charges of incompetence and misdirection in front of a judge and jury." ®