back to article HPE wants British ex-CFO to testify in UK Autonomy lawsuit before Uncle Sam sentences him

HPE wants Sushovan Hussain, convicted ex-CFO of infamous British software company Autonomy, to give evidence in HPE's UK lawsuit against former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch before his own potential US prison sentence. In legal filings seen by The Register, HPE's lawyers said: "There remains uncertainty as to when Mr Hussain's …

  1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Re : The Register will be reporting the case as it progresses.

    And I look forward to reading those reports as the case progresses.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Re : The Register will be reporting the case as it progresses.

      Excellent stuff, please keep up the reading.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Re : Re: The Register will be reporting the case as it progresses.

        I'm finding the commenting to be of exceptionally high quality, too.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Re : The Register will be reporting the case as it progresses.

        It is very refreshing to see journalists actually reporting court proceedings. It seems to be a lost art. Well done, El Reg!

  2. Harry Stottle

    Ponzi Scheme

    love the phrase "unsustainable Ponzi scheme" which implies the existence of sustainable Ponzi schemes, presumably like the US Dollar and other Fiat currencies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ponzi Scheme

      All Ponzi schemes are sustainable, right up to the point when they run out of suckers. It just takes a bit longer with currencies.

    2. 5p0ng3b0b

      Re: Ponzi Scheme

      erm... bitcoin

    3. TDog

      Re: Ponzi Scheme

      Fiat lux seems to be sort of falling apart in the old countries (Europe etc) and gaining in the stranger parts of the rest of the world.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ponzi Scheme

      To some large extent the value of the US dollar is related to the perceived health of the US economy and the functioning of the Federal government. The latter is currently totally dependent on the sale of US treasury bonds, because they don't raise enough funds in taxation. A lot of bonds are bought by China. The current presidency, and indeed many before it (but especially the current one) has done almost nothing about US deficit spending. Large though the US economy is, there is always a reckoning somewhere down the line. They added another trillion dollars to the debt pile last year, for a total public debt of about USD23trillion. That's about USD80,000 for every man, women and child in the USA.

      For it to not be a Ponzi scheme, they'd have to raise that in tax. Whether or not they have to raise that taxation is dependent on China choosing whether or not to keep funding it. I can't see that sum being raised in tax, ever.

      There is the question of whether or not China can afford to call in the debt - I reckon the US government is calculating that it can't - but that's got to be an increasingly risky thing.

      1. Pascal

        Re: Ponzi Scheme

        Gee that's an easy one to solve, just need eternal economic growth. Also sprinkle a nice dose of inflation on top to devalue the debt. Voilà! Problem solved, debt gets paid off by pocket change. Can I be President now?

        1. LucreLout

          Re: Ponzi Scheme

          that's an easy one to solve, just need eternal economic growth.

          Why would economic growth not be eternal?

          In it's purest sense, growth is things we've dug out of the ground, things we've made with what we dug up, and things we've learned that add value to our lives. There's no specific reason for any or all of those processes to stop, thus economic growth can be considered eternal.

          Also sprinkle a nice dose of inflation on top to devalue the debt

          Well, yes, that is the only true purpose of inflation. It devalues the money you have thus encouraging you to invest it or otherwise to spend it. It makes the states debt smaller, but also makes positive debt (what you borrowed to invest in growth) smaller thus encouraging more investment and so more growth.

    5. jimbo60

      Re: Ponzi Scheme

      Fiat currencies should be treated as if they are common stock, but for a country. Price depends on perceived value and future value of the country--the key word there being 'perceived', not anything based on real financial stability.

  3. Richard Jones 1
    Coat

    Just Hold The Popcorn Order

    I have a feeling that once you start on the popcorn while watching this one it would be possible to get very, very fat before the farrago ends. HP, or whatever they are called this week/last week did a crap job of evaluating their purchase, (anyone for due diligence?) and are now in boohoo mode. Sorry I am not sad at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just Hold The Popcorn Order

      It is another sign of the sad decline of once-great HP that they let themselves get fleeced like this.

    2. jimbo60

      Re: Just Hold The Popcorn Order

      Yet another lovely legacy of the Léo Apotheker era.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Just Hold The Popcorn Order

      If the books were cooked correctly, due diligence would not necessarily catch the fraud. There is a certain amount of faith in the integrity of the books presented are accurate. Autonomy would have had an audit trail if they were publicly traded; do not remember if they were.

  4. x 7

    I can't help but feel there's a miscarriage of justice on the horizon here - it really sounds as if they're going to be tried, and punished twice for the same offence

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Never took civics in school, eh? The US trial was in criminal court. The UK trial is a civil court. Not being tried twice "for the same crime".

  5. M7S

    Possible pressure on Hussain?

    Is there any danger that by being pressed to testify prior to his own sentencing, Hussain might be induced to be more helpful to the prosecution of Lynch in return for a less onerous sentence? Lynch is presumably regarded as a bigger fish to catch by the prosecution and the US system is reputedly full of "deals". Given that Hussain intends to appeal against sentence (and perhaps also against his conviction as well) this seems unlikely but as he's rather strapped for cash, he might be in a bit of a bind.

    Of course whilst this might all be denied by the authorities in question (and it is pure speculation on my part as to whether or not such a tactic could/would be used), it does rather make it difficult for them to show that they remain beyond reproach.

    1. devTrail

      Re: Possible pressure on Hussain?

      I think you're right. There's could be pressure either from the prosecution or from HPE Lawyers who might promise to soften their stance during the appeal. But rather than him considering a bigger or smaller fish to catch I think that the real issue is that HPE is playing the "more favourable" American legal system against the British one.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    Just one question

    Is an "an enraged Hewlett-Packard" going to pursue and prosecute the idiot who agreed on the deal at HP without proper discovery as well ?

    Because okay, they cooked the books, but you were too incompetent to see the $8 billion hole you threw yourself into. That is a magnitude of incompetence that is striking in itself.

    1. devTrail

      Re: Just one question

      I don't think that at that levels with big teams of specialized people involved everything can simply be dismissed as incompetence.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another example of everything that was wrong with HP at that time

    Spunking such a ridiculous amount of cash on Autonomy when it was obviously over valued, along with other total clusterfucks - Touchpad anyone? - because the guys in charge were total dicks.

    HP was run by a succession of idiots who systematically destroyed what was, only a few short years before, one of the best tech companies on the planet.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Another example of everything that was wrong with HP at that time

      Standard practice for a company that makes things when it's taken over by MBA types.

  8. devTrail

    Who made money from the deal?

    Hussain was ordered to forfeit more than $7m he had made in personal profits from the sale of Autonomy

    So, HP paid about $11bn and Hussain made more than $7m, that's a tiny percentage of the money involved. At this point I would like to know who were the major shareholders and whether there were brokerage fees involved in the deal. I can bet that the people on trial were not the only ones who made a lot of money from the deal.

    1. David 164

      Re: Who made money from the deal?

      None of the amount of money being thrown around make a lick of sense 11 bn, over value by 8 billion, yet to date the only 20 million in dodgy deals have been found by HP.

  9. James R Grinter

    Any readers ever worked for a customer of Autonomy?

    I’ve always been curious - maybe I missed previous discussions - but I’ve personally never met anyone whose employer/ organisation was a customer. I have even worked for companies who have “one of everything” and they didn’t use it.

    Any readers able to tell us anything about it?

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