Wednesday 17 January 2018

HP reveals DoJ has opened probe into Autonomy fraud claims

HP paid $11.1bn for Autonomy in August 2011. Photo: Getty Images
HP paid $11.1bn for Autonomy in August 2011. Photo: Getty Images

THE US Department of Justice has opened an investigation into allegations of accounting fraud at Autonomy, the software maker acquired by Hewlett-Packard last year.

Government officials began the investigation last month, HP said in an annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday night.

HP, the world's largest PC maker, stunned Silicon Valley last month when it accused Autonomy's senior executives of an accounting fraud that forced it to overpay for the UK company. HP paid $11.1bn for Autonomy in August 2011 as part of a strategy to cut its reliance on the declining PC market. Autonomy's software helps companies search unstructured data such as emails and online videos.

When it published the allegations in November, HP said it had handed over details of its own internal investigation into Autonomy's accounting to the Department of Justice, the SEC and the Serious Fraud Office in Britain.

Mike Lynch, the founder and former chief executive of Autonomy, has vigorously rejected the allegations and earlier this month said that HP had not contacted him about the accusations.

HP chief executive Meg Whitman made the claims against Autonomy alongside an $8.8bn writedown, the majority of which the company said related to its purchase of Autonomy. Among the allegations made, HP accused Autonomy of misrepresenting the sale of hardware as more lucrative software sales.

Shares in HP closed down 0.6pc at $14 on Wall Street.

Richard Blackden,

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