back to article I can't say Mike Lynch knew about Autonomy dodginess, star witness tells High Court

Autonomy's former US head of sales made a series of startling admissions in court yesterday which contradicted his witness statement, throwing a curveball into Britain's biggest fraud trial. Christopher "Stouffer" Egan's second day in the witness box was characterised by him admitting that in some instances he could not state …

  1. Aladdin Sane

    Popcorn!

    Get it whilst it's hot!

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Popcorn!

      Got any sausage-inna-bun?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Popcorn!

        Rat on a stick seems more appropriate for this lot.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Popcorn!

          They are not dwarves. Dwarves are highly moral hard working miners and businesspeople.

        2. Kane Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Popcorn!

          "Rat on a stick seems more appropriate for this lot."

          "Why does ketchup cost almost as much as the rat?", said Angua.

          "Have you tried rat without ketchup?", said Carrot.

      2. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Popcorn!

        1 dollar, and that's cutting me own throat.

        1. James Anderson

          Re: Popcorn!

          That's not popcorn, That's fried cabbage roots from Sto Lat.

      3. STOP_FORTH

        Re: Popcorn!

        I never understood why CMOT Dibbler didn't appear in the later books in the series. Did the inhabitants of Ankh-Morpork start eating healthy food?

    2. noboard

      Re: Popcorn!

      I'll take some, will you accept an email from Zavvi saying you've won a competition you never entered as payment?

      1. TrumpSlurp the Troll

        Re: Popcorn!

        Thanks but I already have one.

    3. pavel.petrman

      Re: Popcorn!

      Get it while it's hot before someone else buys it, the vendor will pay the price back to you because s/he needs to balloon up sales in this quarter!

  2. David Neil

    Oh dear

    This is going to be expensive for HPE

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Oh dear

      Only about $10 billion. Not that big of a deal.

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        $10 billion here, $10 billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear

          pretty soon it adds up to real money

          I'm minding of the old adage: "if you owe the bank £1000, that#s your problem. If you owe the bank £100 million, that's the banks' problem..".

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      Its also going to be expensive for him, since it will nullify his deal with the US prosecutor and send his ass to jail.

    3. BebopWeBop
      Holmes

      Re: Oh dear

      I hope so to, but why Oh dear.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh dear

        Doesn't look good for American "justice" does it?

        1. a pressbutton

          Re: Oh dear

          I think the problem is that for a very long time, the American legal system has been stating that it is the American "justice" system.

          There is a lot of evidence that this is not so but it is usually about poor people.

          We are seeing the latest piece of data now because the defendant is v.v. rich - and white.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: American Justice

          since when has there ever been any 'justice' in the US Legal System?

          Money Talks especially when it comes to election time. That's how they ended up with Trump... ???

  3. Salestard

    IT Salespeople eh?

    You just can't trust em to say the same thing twice... why anyone thinks putting them in a witness box is going to change their natural inclination to bend the story to suit the audience, I don't know.

    Salestard

    IT Salesperson since 1997.

    1. Fatman

      Re: IT Salespeople eh?

      Where you kneeling in a confessional when you typed that???

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        At least he knows what he's talking about

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          WTF?

          Which, it has to be said, is highly unusual for IT salespeople,

  4. Snowy Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Does puzzle me.

    How can Mike Lynch be both a cunning man who fooled them all with his financial shell game and also stupid enough to stay around and work for the company he had just robbed?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does puzzle me.

      Obviously Autonomy has developed quantum computing.

      And their US sales guy is managing to be in both a spin up and spin down state at once.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Does puzzle me.

      Presumably he was tied in financially. Many acquisitions tie in key staff for X years afterwards with incremental payouts and suchlike.

  5. Nick Kew

    ... meaning he has admitted his own wrongdoing over some of Autonomy's deals.

    I don't think it necessarily means that. Rather it may merely mean he feared - rightly or wrongly - "they were out to get him".

    The witness looks bad. But that may just mean the lawyer is doing his job: Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.

    Yes of course I believe almost certainly the case is dodgy and the witness compromised by the US trial. But not so much on the strength of today's report.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP buys shiny looking motor off the forecourt yet fails to kick the tyres and check under the hood in a rush to buy said motor in the belief another prospective buyer wishes to purchase. More fool them.

    1. macjules
      Facepalm

      Good analogy but more like, "HP buys car for $8.8Bn more than it is worth and then tries to disappear the overpayment into its accounts, gets sued by 3 shareholders and whines to the FBI and SFO about fraud until the man who sold them the car gets put on trial. HP then buys more and more cars at huge sums more than they are worth, happy in the knowledge that they can always get the FBI to prosecute".

  7. Alistair
    Windows

    I thought that you said that you though that I said that you were thinking I thought

    Between the (management)Sales people and the lawyers, that room has to be full of obfuscations. I'm wondering how much work the cleaners have to do at the end of the day and what they're making off the fertilizer sales.

    1. BebopWeBop
      Unhappy

      Re: I thought that you said that you though that I said that you were thinking I thought

      Not making any money, it will need to be disposed of as toxic waste

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "knew that the primary reason for the deal was Autonomy's need for additional revenue in Q1 2010"

    Was it Autonomy's need or Egan's need for his own bit of it? Hands up who believes the latter.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Egan remains on the witness stand this afternoon for cross-examination by Hussain's barrister, Paul Casey. "

    And will round two be the same as round one? In one fell swoop could HP's case fall over when one of the actual criminals admits they made up claims that others were aware of their dealings?

    Still, if it's good enough for the US government, surely Egan's word will be good enough? Or does he have to wait for the HP lawyers tell him what to say before he answers that?

    So much popcorn...

  10. JustWondering

    Is it any surprise ...

    ... that someone trying to avoid prison would be as obliging as possible when making and signing statements?

    1. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: Is it any surprise ...

      Anyone for the best justice money (plus threats, menaces and promises) can buy? Talk about a swamp that needed draining, as some 'unknown dirt spec' did a while back.

  11. TrumpSlurp the Troll
    Trollface

    Confessions made under duress

    Should not be accepted in court.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Confessions made under duress

      Should not be accepted in court

      But that would negate the whole 'plea bargain' thing! How can US 'justice' possibly recover?

  12. Chris G

    Plea bargains and immunity deals

    Are similar to torture, while less painful than torture both produce results but not necessarily the truth.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smoke Screen

    I was there from virtually day one in the the St James office as an HP employee after the purchase. I didn't know Mike, but had numerous meetings with his CFO, who seemed to be in a position of control that I couldn't understand as he wasn't exactly ...... competent. However, It was their departmenatl management team I talked to, and a talented bunch they were.

    It was obvious from the very first hour, and everyone was open about it, that Autonomy had an incredible marketing department, a highly agressive & manipulative sales culture, a brilliant idea and then some very very very questionable SW. We in the industry knew the SW was questionable because Autonomy had aquired companies we knew and Autonomy never had the cash to build those little capabilitise out to meet the marketing hype they produced in their red, yellow & blue books of fantasy/vision.

    The HP technical due dilligence team were in no doubt that this was a box of SW twigs with a great vision. I talked to them regularly and they were blocked by Autonomy and then told by HP NOT to bothetr to review it deeply. presumably because the vision was key not the SW. So, the vision was there but you needed a huge investment to make it real. We also all knew that sales was a pure survival game of the very nasty childish bullying behaviour that came out of the CFO's office. As a result you could see instantly the pipeline inflation process this caused, it wasn't hidden, the CFO was way to niave to have hidden it and far to inexperienced to have managed it properly.

    So what was missing?

    HP due dilligence. IBM and Oracle had turned Autonomy down for vastly less sums. But HP walks in, does zero proper due dilligence and gets taken to the cleaners.

    Mike et al. did the best sales job ever for their share holders and themselves. The reason this trial exists is because the HP board cannot take another shareholder class action. This was one of the greatest corporate governance cock-ups in the IT industry since HP bought EDS, themselves the worst managed IT services company in the world ....... is their a pattern here? Have you seen the EDS write down?

    The HP board are trying to escape their cupability. It's true Autonomy inflated themselves .... but that is what due dilligence is for to understand this and why neither Oracle or IBM fell for it.

    The brave thing would have been to manage the over payment, get the Autonomy marketing hype and make it real. But that is now Microfocus's job. HP's job is to protect some vastly over renumerated board members who spectacularly failed to do their jobs.

  14. Chris Morgan

    Ahh memories

    I did that slide along with a lot of others.

    Glad to see it's still being used.

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