Sushovan Hussain, the former chief financial officer (CFO) of software company Autonomy, is to face charges of conspiracy and wire fraud after being indicted in a court in San Francisco last week.
The indictment is the latest move in the increasingly bitter battle between HPE, which inherited the Autonomy dispute when Hewlett-Packard split in two, and the former executives in charge of Autonomy.
Hussain remains in the UK, but appears willing to travel to the US to defend himself rather than face extradition. His lawyer, John Keker, declared that he is looking forward to the trial.
"Sushovan Hussain is innocent of wrongdoing. He defrauded no-one and, as Autonomy's CFO, acted at all times with the highest standards of honesty, integrity and competence. He will be acquitted at trial," said Keker in a statement.
"It is a shame that the Department of Justice [DoJ] is lending its support to HP's attempts to blame others for its own catastrophic failings. Mr Hussain is a UK citizen who properly applied UK accounting rules for a UK company. This issue does not belong in a US criminal court.
"It's especially galling that the DoJ is pursuing this case on behalf of HP, a company that went out of its way to employ a web of offshore shell companies to acquire Autonomy with the specific intention of avoiding payment of US taxes."
HP acquired Autonomy for $10.9bn in November 2011 as part of a strategy to diversify from hardware into software and services. The deal was masterminded by then CEO Léo Apotheker, and was nodded through by Meg Whitman, who had been on the board and took over as CEO as the deal was being finalised.
However, it quickly turned sour as it became clear that HP had wildly overpaid. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison claimed that he had been offered the opportunity to buy the company at around half the price that HP eventually paid, but turned it down as overvalued.
HP claimed that it was the victim of accounting fraud perpetrated by Autonomy suggesting, among other things, that the company booked bundled hardware sales as software sales in a bid to make it look like it was growing faster than it was.
Hussain and Autonomy founder and CEO Mike Lynch have both denied the claims made by HP and, post-split, HPE. They say that HP was fully apprised of the company's accounting practices during the due diligence phase of the acquisition.
Lynch announced plans in October last year to sue HP in the UK for damages in excess of $150m for what his legal team claimed were "false and negligent statements made about him and the Autonomy management team" by HP on 20 November 2012 and in HP's "subsequent public smear campaign".
This came after the UK's Serious Fraud Office dropped an investigation into the company in January 2015 on the ground that there was "insufficient evidence".
HPE, meanwhile, has off-loaded Autonomy to Micro Focus in an $8.8bn 'spin-merge' deal in which HPE shareholders will end up with 50.1 per cent of the enlarged Micro Focus.
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