back to article Brit tech tycoon Mike Lynch cleared of all charges in US Autonomy fraud trial

Mike Lynch, founder and CEO of Autonomy, has been acquitted of criminal fraud and conspiracy charges arising from the 2011 sale of the British software company to Hewlett-Packard. On Thursday, a federal court jury in San Francisco cleared Lynch of all 15 charges – 14 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. Co- …

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    1. diodesign Silver badge

      Re: Federal acquittals are extremely rare

      This is a really good point. Yes, vast majority of US DoJ cases are won by Uncle Sam.

      Not just the trial, Lynch had to go through extradition too. And won. That speaks for itself. Just that damages case in England to go.

      C.

    2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Federal acquittals are extremely rare

      The SFO has managed to bring about 10 cases in the last 20 years, barely, and has lost some important ones in the process. They're not really fit for purpose. Private Eye has been kicking them for years, it's quite eye-opening.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Federal acquittals are extremely rare

      The defendents' legal representatives are going to being finding their professional reputations lit up in stars. After pulling this result off (and, as you say, very much against the prevailing course of events), there's a good chance that they'll become the "go to" lawyers for any business person with a tricky altercation with the authorities to survive.

      There's surely going to have to be questions on both sides of the Atlantic as to "how has it come to this?". Criminal charges rejected by a jury so quickly suggests there was not much to the charges in the first place. I don't really care about Mike Lynch as such, but if US prosecutors and British courts combined are unable to weigh up the merits of a case with reasonable accuracy then the extradition system is undermined. There's much to criticise about current UK / US extradition arrangements.

      It'd be no good the judicial / prosecutorial authorities here or there pointing to an acquital as evidence that the extradition was sound, no harm done. No matter if you're a billionaire businessmen or a just an ordinary Joe, extradition is not a zero-cost, zero consequence process. Far from it. Extradition should happen only if it needs to happen, and this case is a hard to ignore indicator that the authorities either side of the pond have ****ed this one up. Next time, pretty much the same people could be making pretty much the same kind of arguments about a case involving you.

      I suspect that in this case the extradition process and the people who carry it out (US prosecutors, British courts) have probably been skewed by the "it's a lot of money" angle. If that's true, then that's an extremely bad thing. The "how much money?" angle should matter only when it comes to sentencing - if it gets that far. It should not play a part in the merits of the case and whether the case goes ahead or not.

      As a Brit, I'll be extremely interested to see if the British Judiciary ask themselves any questions about what they got wrong. I doubt they will; the judiciary seem not to be too keen in looking at the effectiveness of their own activities. The Post Office Horizon scandal is another example. There's a lot of inquiries going on into what's gone wrong there, but so far as I know none of them are asking why the Judiciary themselves did not spot that 700+ court cases, all very similar, had come before them to be heard. The Judiciary are there in part to ensure that cases are run safely, yet they demonstrated little by way of curiosity as to why hundreds of cases, all very similar, all very "computer says so" in nature, were suddenly being brought before them. Seven hundred. I mean, how disinterested can the judiciary get? Law and order depends entirely on the rule of law, but it's been ruling rather ineptly of late.

      p.s. I've no connection to any of the effected parties in HP vs Lynch et al, or to anyone involved in the Post Office scandal.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good. Onus was alway on HP to do due diligence. They failed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You’d have to be a morin…

    You’d have to be a moron to pay over market for an AI company in 2011. That stuff was never going to take off..

  3. luis river

    total decrepit history

    Too much years, too much witness, too much information folios, too much barristers, too much trans-atlantic ocean Jets, too much intrigue, too much gruesome whispering , too much doubts etc etc etc whole result there are here ...popular Jury overwhelming opinion said : MIKE totally CLEAN....... Total history abstract from american film "MARX BROTHER´s CABIN"....

    1. luis river

      Re: total decrepit history

      Donald Please: Make AMERICA great again !!

  4. TDog

    HP still has a damages claim in the civil courts.

    So what happens next? USA states no fraud; UK rules an offence committed. HP claims damages in UK. Will this be the nominal £1 paid into court rather than (from recollection) £4Bn?

    1. sanmigueelbeer
      Coat

      Re: HP still has a damages claim in the civil courts.

      HP will continue to pursue Mike Lynch until:

      a. A country (any country, for that matter) will find Mike Lynch guilty

      b. Mike Lynch dies

      c. HP runs out of money

      d. Mike Lynch runs out of money

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re:"HP will continue to pursue Mike Lynch until:” @sanmigueelbeer

        It will be lawyers responsible for that ambulance chase, sanmigueelbeer, with them expecting a dead duck and suckered investors to pay them for their efforts trying to prove black is white and right is wrong.

        That’s criminal justice, Gangland Style.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: HP will continue to pursue Mike Lynch until:” @sanmigueelbeer

          And if you want another example of criminal justice, Gangland Style ‽ :-) ......... Baby Reindeer: woman who claims to be real-life Martha sues Netflix for $170m

          There must be something psychoactive in the water over there in La La Land.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: HP will continue to pursue Mike Lynch until:” @sanmigueelbeer

            Well if Netflix can make that sort of sum out of a show, then the penalty would need to be on that scale to avoid the moral hazard of defamation suits just being absorbed as a cost of doing business.

            (Disclaimer: I've no idea if that actually is the scale of profits from a moneyspinning TV series.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: HP will continue to pursue Mike Lynch until:” @sanmigueelbeer

          I initially read that as 'Gangnam Style'.

          Now I have visions of lawyers gang-naming into court in a quest for more money!

      2. Gordon 10

        Re: HP still has a damages claim in the civil courts.

        This. The only light at the end of the tunnel might be that if I recall correctly whilst the judge in the UK civil case whilst finding Lynch guilty was pretty scathing of HP. So it could be one of those settle for a token amount cases....

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: HP still has a damages claim in the civil courts.

      Civil cases are "on the balance of probability", a much lower bar than the "beyond reasonable doubt" of criminal cases.

      It will certainly aid his appeal against the civil damages. The lawyers will get paid a lot more before this is over.

  5. Big Softie

    Surprising

    I would have thought HP's lawyers had a watertight case before going down the road of extradition.

    Unless it was HP's strategy all along to simply wear him down and hurt him publicly and financially on the basis their pockets will always bel deeper than his, even though the acquisition left him fabulously wealthy.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Surprising

      Federal prosecutors have a 99.6% conviction rate, he was looking at 20 years behind bars if they convicted him. They must have been expecting him to take a deal.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Humble Pie... for me

    As I quite publicly stated. I am indeed astonished by the result!

    I think it's absolutely the right one, but never thought it possible.

  7. Azamino

    Fly on the wall...

    I should have loved to see the reaction of Sushovan Hussain to the news that his boss walks (albeit after a huge amount of money spent on legal fees) while he spent five years in chokey!

  8. I Am Spartacus
    Thumb Up

    Well done elReg

    Thanks to el Reg's team of reporters, you kept this in the public eye.

    Pleased indeed to see the US Lawyers and HP's Due Diligence team reach for their latin dictionary to understand what Caveat Emptor means.

    Knives out for Pritti Patel and the UK courts for ever letting this get close to a US court. Lynch is a UK citizen. Autonomy was a UK company. The deal was done in the UK. If there ever was a case to answer it should have been in a UK court.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Well done elReg

      Knives out for Pritti Patel and the UK courts for ever letting this get close to a US court. Lynch is a UK citizen. Autonomy was a UK company. The deal was done in the UK. If there ever was a case to answer it should have been in a UK court. .... I am Spartacus

      The UKGBNI government and Intelligences services and civil servants, I am Spartacus, proven to be, beyond any shadow of doubt, poodles of the US of A administration/shadow government wonks.

      Ans ain't that the honest gospel truth .... in spades.

    2. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Well done elReg

      Tory Home Secretaries do seem to be very keen on deporting/exiling law abiding British Citizens and Tax Payers.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Well done elReg. Praise where praise is due.

      Seconded, I am Spartacus.

      Three cheers and drinks on the house for Thomas Claburn and Chris Williams, who excelled in keeping us abreast and up tp date on the HP shenanigans from day one of the situation.

  9. plrndl

    A Cautionary Tale

    Hardware company in the doldrums can’t find a direction. Changes CEO at frequent intervals.

    Hardware company hires software company exec as CEO.

    New CEO buys expensive, trendy software company to become a software company.

    Hardware company replaces CEO, forgets about his strategy.

    Purchase becomes worthless.

    Hardware company blames software company execs for failure of the strategy.

    The end

    1. Colin Bull 1

      software company ...

      I thought the main thrust of HP's claim was that Autonomy overstated their hardware sales ....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The most astonishing thing here is...

    ... how they found an impartial jury.

    After all, who hasn't been screwed by HP's printer ink cartridge shenanigans at some point or other?

  11. Innique

    I worked for this ass hat and he was shopping the company the whole time. Larry Ellis at Oracle still has his pitch on Powerpoint. Smart guy, but no business ethics, gee that's not happening like all over the internet it's the wild west, what's legal in India is not legal in the states or Europe and they treat every country like they are the same.

  12. luis river

    To BE continued

    I DONT DOUBT, MIKE LYNCH SCREWED BY Hewlett Packard THE LAST 13 YEARS APROX 5000 DAYS, screwed ( with or without basement).. under suspicius, jailed, deported, with médical handicaps, límited personal life, and deteriored their managerial life, etc

    And after 6 june 2024 judge and overwhelming Jury veredict: MIKE its a "Totally charges free "

    Repeat I dont doubt ...Autonomy case, dont its film The End.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Overreach @Anonymous Coward

      Have a downvote for that truly demonstrative example of overreach, AC.

      Black is not white and innocent of all charges is not guilty as prosecuted.

  14. MrGrumpy

    HP Leadership

    The clowns at the time should be doing the time.

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