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Headlinesn > Business > Mike Lynch cleared by US jury of all charges over £8.3bn sale of Autonomy to HP
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Mike Lynch cleared by US jury of all charges over £8.3bn sale of Autonomy to HP

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch has been cleared of all charges by a US jury in the high-profile fraud case related to the sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011.

Dr Lynch, who was extradited to the US to face trial just over a year ago, was acquitted alongside a former finance executive Stephen Chamberlain who had faced the same charges.

They were accused of conspiracy and attempted fraud over the £8.3bn sale to HP – a deal that has been the subject of costly legal action since.

Dr Lynch has long been accused by HP of deliberately overstating the value of Autonomy, a business he founded and ran, before it was acquired by the American technology firm.

It was the biggest tech takeover of a FTSE 100 firm at the time – but HP wrote down £5.5bn from Autonomy’s value within a year of completion, claiming revenue streams had been inflated.

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Dr Lynch has always denied any wrongdoing.

“I am elated with today’s verdict and grateful to the jury for their attention to the facts over the last 10 weeks. I am looking forward to returning to the UK and getting back to what I love most: my family and innovating in my field,” he said.

He took to the witness stand at the trial to argue that the US firm rushed the deal, did not understand what it was buying and had not completed its due diligence sufficiently.

The acquisition was initially investigated by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office but it dropped the probe in 2015 while US prosecutors continued their own inquiry.

Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s chief financial officer in the run-up to the 2011 sale, was convicted in the US on similar charges in 2018 but has since been released from prison.

HP later largely won a civil lawsuit, in London, against Dr Lynch and Hussain.

The awarding of damages was delayed pending the end of the criminal trial of Dr Lynch in the US.

HP is seeking more than £3bn – and is yet to comment on the California jury’s decision.

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