Earlier today, Mike Lynch sent an open letter to the HP board demanding that they turn over the evidence of the alleged fraud in Autonomy’s books.A few minutes ago, HP responded, saying that they are leaving things in the hands of the authorities and that the company plans to “take legal action.” It wants Lynch to answer HP’s questions, “under penalty of perjury.”
Last week HP CEO Meg Whitman said that the company was writing off $8.8 billion after they discovered alleged accounting fraud in Autonomy’s books. It blamed $5 billion of the writeoff on those accounting problems. Mike Lynch has flatly denied all allegations and told Business Insider that it was HP’s mismanagement of Autonomy that caused the acquisition to fail.
Here is HP’s response to Lynch’s open letter:
HP has initiated an intense internal investigation into a series of accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations that occurred prior to HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. We believe we have uncovered extensive evidence of a willful effort on behalf of certain former Autonomy employees to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company in order to mislead investors and potential buyers.
The matter is in the hands of the authorities, including the UK Serious Fraud Office, the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division and the US Department of Justice, and we will defer to them as to how they wish to engage with Dr. Lynch. In addition, HP will take legal action against the parties involved at the appropriate time.
While Dr. Lynch is eager for a debate, we believe the legal process is the correct method in which to bring out the facts and take action on behalf of our shareholders. In that setting, we look forward to hearing Dr. Lynch and other former Autonomy employees answer questions under penalty of perjury.
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