Hewlett-Packard (HP) is set to sue the founder of UK tech company Autonomy, Mike Lynch, who it describes as a “fraudster”, and someone who is now “squarely in the company’s crosshairs”.
The row began after HP’s $11.1bn (£6.6bn) acquisition of Autonomy in 2011. HP then wrote down the UK firm’s value to just $2.3bn (£1.4bn) a year later, accusing the Autonomy management of accountancy fraud.
In addition to former chief executive Lynch, HP is suing Autonomy’s ex-chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain.
Hussain has tried to block a settlement between HP and three of its shareholders who were left out of pocket after the company’s ill-fated purchase.
In a court filing, HP said: “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.
“The shareholder plaintiffs who originally sued HP’s directors and officers now agree that Hussain, along with Autonomy’s founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be held accountable for this fraud.”
Autonomy responded saying: “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.”