back to article Ex-Autonomy CFO begs court to toss out US fraud allegations

The former chief financial officer of ill-fated $11bn HP acquisition Autonomy is asking a US court to dismiss felony fraud charges related to his role in the 2011 merger deal. Lawyers for Sushovan Hussain argued in the San Francisco Northern California district court late last week that the American government has no grounds …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Such jurisdictional matters are of little concern to US prosecuting authorities. They're merely a challenge to be overcome, not an actual rule of what they should and should not do. Ask anyone in the online gambling business...

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Despotic Autocratic Oligarchies vs CyberIntelAIgent Systems Programming. Fact and/or Fiction?!

    Have y'all not yet realised there is no place/space secure against the alienating wishes of future leaderships and past grand masters into Greater IntelAIgent Gaming?

    Sheep follow where shepherds lead ...... with all manner of media presenting the ways of travel or in many sad pathetic cases attempting in vain to hijack and derail virtual movement and novel motion.

    1. James 51
      Alien

      Re: Despotic Autocratic Oligarchies vs CyberIntelAIgent Systems Programming. Fact and/or Fiction?!

      That mostly made sense, haven't had my first cup of tea. Yes, that's it. Not losing any marbles at all.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Fraudsters, Pure and Simple, and their Betrayal should surely be Criminal

      And some lower league wannabe Great Game Grand Masters just haven’t got a clue about what to do with a show that leads ….. https://www.rt.com/uk/406326-brexit-secret-davies-lammy/

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: lower league wannabe Great Game Grand Masters

        To paraphrase Evan: Brexit is like a game, it has rules, you have to learn them and get serious about them... because it's not a game!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's not who should be in court

    I note with interest that they're carefully avoiding to talk about who ought to be really in the dock: the auditors who have appeared to have done nothing during their due diligence.

    You employ these people at a fairly stiff day rate to discover exactly the kind of shenanigans that this guy is now in the dock for, and it is clear they didn't do their job at all. If there's as much fraud as alleged, even a novice ought to have picked up on it so what the hell have the auditors actually done for their money? Surf pr0n on the Internet for a couple of weeks, or double billed by working for another customer at the same time? With that apparent amount of effort involved I can imagine they could run a couple of customers in parallel without anyone being the wiser.

    Let's be clear here: this is a face saving exercise. HP should have never paid as much for Autonomy, if the auditors had actually done their job the acquisition probably would have been aborted instead.

    1. Cynical Observer
      Stop

      Re: That's not who should be in court

      You employ these people at a fairly stiff day rate to discover exactly the kind of shenanigans that this guy is now in the dock for, and it is clear they didn't do their job at all.

      Woah there AC! That's a dangerous assertion. If it's clear that they didn't do their job, then it might also be asserted that it's clear that the so called shenanigans have taken place. Conversely, if they did their job, and if they did it correctly then someone in HP badly screwed in structuring the deal.

      That's what Mr Hussain is going to be court for - to determine if said shenanigans did take place. But until that happens (assuming that the US courts take the standard "We are the World" approach and insist on proceeding), he has a right to the presumption of innocence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it is clear they didn't do their job at all.

      With great respect, you seem to have misunderstood a fundamental principle of corporate bookkeeping and auditing.

      The job of the Globocorp auditor is to keep quiet about what they know and that Globocorp would rather others didn't know. Many of these auditors are extremely good at this. Occasionally things go wrong (the names Tesco and BT might spring to mind, for example).

      And so long as Globocorp's auditors have nice cosy relationships with the global corporate companies they are auditing (e.g. auditors are massively overpaid year after year), why would anyone expect any change in the outlook?

  4. James 51

    I remember reading an article a few years ago and the ghist of it was Autonomy set their books up the way UK based companies normally do and HP read them as if they were setup the US way. This lead to HP over paying but that the management in HP weren't up to scratch in other ways too. From what little I know it does look like a company trying to sue their way to victory when they failed in the market but the UK or the EU courts should be handling this. HP just want it in the states cause they think the process will be tilted in their favour.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "I remember reading an article a few years ago and the ghist of it was Autonomy set their books up the way UK based companies normally do and HP read them as if they were setup the US way."

      That's actually a possibility with a certain probability... Anyone remember when Daimler Benz got listed on the NYSE, some 20 years ago? That year, they had to present two business reports - one done by German accounting standards, one by US accounting standards. Version 1: 2 Bn DEM profits. Version 2: 0.5 Bn USD losses.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Juristriction likely is valid on the wire fraud charge at least....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Worldwide_Interbank_Financial_Telecommunication

    Read down to US control over EU transactions, then read the next paragraph as well.

    I'm not suggesting the offence was committed, but in all probability they used SWIFT for some of these transfer transactions.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Does he not know

    that US law applies everywhere in the known Universe.

    There is no escaping Uncle Sam unless he flees to North Korea or the far side of the moon.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Does he not know

      <i?There is no escaping Uncle Sam unless he flees to North Korea or the far side of the moon.</i>

      I believe they have plans for that as well......

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extradition

    If he wins his case does that mean teenage hackers from the UK can't be tried in the US too?

    Why don't the US have their own teenage hackers?

    1. James 51

      Re: Extradition

      If someone hacked DOD computers in the US and they were in the UK at the time I could see the connection to the US and why the DOD might want the trial there. On the other hand the person was in the UK when they committed the crime so I would argue they should be tried in UK courts and to avoid double jeopardy being spread across jurisdictions, not handed over if the UK finds no case to answer. That is not what happened in this case. No one directly involved in the sale was in the US and US companies weren’t directly involved (i.e. autonomy wasn’t US owned and it wasn’t selling it to a US based company). If the people who owned autonomy committed a crime, they did so in the UK.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why don't the US have their own teenage hackers?

      I blame public education. But our public corruption is unequaled.

  8. streaky

    Except..

    fails to allege any action taken by Mr Hussain 'in connection with' US-listed securities

    I have no love for the way the US nor HP has behaved in this case but it *is* directly affecting a US-listed security. HP's. The allegation is HP were defrauded, I don't really see how that's a defence.

    What is a defence is it would appear that HP are full of shit and didn't appear to do effective due-diligence. If anybody should be prosecuted it's HP's former CEO, which is why HP settled their case with shareholders, they know full well who is at fault.

  9. Tubz

    HP cocked up and US legal system using every dirty trick in the book to assist them in making a case, even if they have no legal jurisdiction. Funny how UK and Dutch governments are not complaining of the US treading on their legal toes or have they been warned off, with it being a fat cat US company?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The UK government is in no position to complain about any country worth trading with, and will remain so for the next 2 or 3 years,

      1. streaky

        Never been a better time, we're finding out who our friends and more importantly enemies are.

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So if I read this rightly, he's not saying he's innocent but that the US is the wrong place for a trial. Right? I wonder how he'd fight it if the UK was prosecuting?

  11. Barry Mahon

    I worked with buyers of Autonomy. There was a very significant amount of consultancy built in to the purchase, but this depended on what Autonomy assessed you needed to make the software work.

    The actual amount of work was not determinable in advance but Autonomy publicised sales at revenues based on consultancy estimates, not on actual purchase price. It is this fiction that HP bought.

    Hussein is accused of puffing up revenues.....

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Joke

      You mean if HP had bought SAP the same thing would have happened?

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