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Hewlett-Packard prevails in its Autonomy-related fraud claims

Overview

The Court has today found that Hewlett-Packard Claimants (HPE) have "substantially succeeded" in their fraud claims against Mike Lynch and Sushovan Hussain.

Travers Smith represented HPE in the "tech trial of the century" arising out of HP's acquisition of Autonomy, a FTSE100 software company, in 2011.  HPE's case was that it significantly overpaid for Autonomy as a result of the fraudulent distortion by the Defendants, Mike Lynch (Autonomy's former CEO) and Sushovan Hussain (Autonomy's former CFO), of Autonomy's financial performance.  The distortion included the resale of large volumes of hardware, despite Autonomy holding itself out as a "pure software" company, and the use of reseller and data archiving transactions as a device to accelerate the recognition of revenue.

Following a ten-month trial in the High Court which concluded in January 2020 (making it one of the longest-running cases ever to be heard in England), Mr Justice Robert Hildyard this morning delivered a summary of his conclusions.  He said the following about his findings: "…I have reached clear conclusions in these proceedings on the civil liability of Dr Lynch and Mr Hussain for fraud under FSMA, common law, and the Misrepresentation Act 1967…"  He concluded the proceedings by saying: "Finally, the legal representation and assistance provided to me in this case have been of the very highest standard.  The longer my labours have continued the more I have understood and appreciated theirs and quite how much work has been put into these proceedings….I wish to express my profound and genuine appreciation to them all for the quality of their work, and in particular the enormous help they have provided to me in what has been for everyone involved an exceptionally onerous case."

HPE commented: "Lynch and Hussain defrauded and deliberately misled the market and Hewlett-Packard. HPE is pleased that the Judge has held them accountable."

Toby Robinson, who co-led the Travers Smith team, commented: "We are delighted for HPE who have been steadfast in their pursuit of justice ever since they uncovered the wrongdoing at Autonomy back in 2012.  Today is the culmination of almost a decade of hard work by many: it has been a real team effort to achieve this result."

The detailed judgment – setting out more fully Hildyard J's reasons for his conclusions – is anticipated to become publicly available in around three to four weeks' time.  Quantum will be determined in a later judgment.

The Travers Smith team was led by Partners Toby Robinson and Andrew King.  The Counsel team was led by Laurie Rabinowitz QC of One Essex Court and Patrick Goodall QC of Fountain Court.

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