Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has launched a scathing attack on HP and its chief executive Meg Whitman in the latest war of words relating to the long-running legal saga caused by the acquisition of the UK firm.
Lynch and HP have been engaged in a long-running legal saga after the US firm accused the former management of accounting improprieties that forced it to write down its acquisition of Autonomy by $8.8bn.
Since then the case has been investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office and US Securities and Exchange Commission, with no clear end of the feud in sight.
Now Lynch has renewed his attack on HP and its management, by claiming the statements made by HP leaders since the drama started do not add up and questions need to be asked.
“Meg Whitman has made incendiary and defamatory accusations on behalf of her company,” he said. “She should now present the detailed evidence that justifies those allegations and a $5.5bn write-down in the value of your [the shareholders’] company.”
Lynch called on the firm’s shareholders to lead an inquisition into the claims made by HP’s management, which he called into question:
- “HP has repeatedly declined to show the Autonomy management team the allegations or evidence against them, on the grounds that the issue is ‘with the regulators’. Yet it has engaged in selective disclosure of these documents and emails to the media. How does HP justify that?“
- “HP claims to have been in the dark until a 'whistleblower' stepped forward. Articles in the Financial Times have established that the most senior managers of HP fully understood Autonomy’s accounting methods from when they took over the company in October 2011. Does HP deny that senior managers had prior knowledge?”
- "Why did HP’s management fail to disclose these valuations at the time? Why do they not release them now?"
- "Why won’t HP release its calculation for the write-down?"
In response HP maintained its position on the matter and said it was continuing to co-operate with all relevant ongoing investigations.
"As HP has previously reported, it uncovered numerous accounting irregularities at Autonomy prior to its acquisition by HP,” it said. “HP reported those irregularities to appropriate civil and criminal regulators in the US and UK.”
The statements from Lynch mark the second time he has attacked Whitman this year. In February he said she should quit over the confusion that had arisen due to the legal action she has instigated against Autonomy's old management.
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