back to article Ex-Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain loses US appeal bid against fraud convictions and 5-year prison sentence

Former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain has lost a US appeal bid against his criminal conviction for fraud committed during the sale of the British software company to Hewlett-Packard back in 2011. "We hold that Hussain's wire fraud convictions did not involve an impermissible extraterritorial application of United States law to …

  1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    It'll be interesting to see what happens with the criminal charges if HP lose the case in the UK.

    (opens popcorn...)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Especially as the UK case is a civil one to be decide on the lesser standard of balance of probability.

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "...what happens with the criminal charges if HP lose the case in the UK."

      Good question.

      But someone has to get to be the fall guy.

      O.

    3. Imhotep Silver badge

      The criminal charges would be unaffected, but it wouldn't be a good look fro the US justice system.

      1. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

        Justice system?

        @Imhotep

        The U.S. has a "fill the private prisons" system. It does not have a justice system.

        Unless you are rich. And it helps to be white.

        Just saying

        Cheers… Ishy

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but it wouldn't be a good look fro the US justice system."

        Have you seen this case? Australia has almost been stripped of kangaroos for it to get this far

  2. I like fruits
    Pint

    For justice!

    Disclaimer: I don't have deep understanding of the case, your sense of justice may differ from mine and the judges', etc.

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Meanwhile, British case awaits judgment

    <small-voice-from-back-seat>Are we nearly there yet?</small-voice-from-back-seat>

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought we had abandoned extradition

    After the lady who killed the kid on the motorbike fled justice in the UK and refused to return.

    Why would the UK government even respond to any US requests for extradition when such an egregious case is outstanding?

    1. ExampleOne

      Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

      Obnoxious as it is, and infuriating for all parties as it is, it is highly questionable the extradition request would survive contact with a court room while both governments agree she is entitled to diplomatic immunity. Unless and until either she or the US government waive that immunity, legally speaking there is no case to answer in UK law.

      Yes, it is horrible. No, it is not justice, but sometimes the law ends up working that way, and the principles involved in diplomatic immunity are kind of important.

      The bigger question that should be being asked is why she had immunity in the first place, and why the government continues to hand it out easily to associates of credentialed diplomats from the USA given their track record on immunity over rather more minor issues (parking tickets and speeding fines).

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

        Apparently there was a loophole in the regulations of the UK that govern diplomatic immunity. It has, according to the genius in charge at the FCO, been plugged and there continues to be negotiation over the case. But no, there *is* a case to answer, and the person in question will, if she ever leaves the US, be subject to a pretty little warrant of extradition from whatever country she happens to head to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

          "Apparently there was a loophole in the regulations of the UK that govern diplomatic immunity. It has, according to the genius in charge at the FCO, been plugged"

          I would suggest that is a bullshit excuse from the FCO to try and make the whole thing go away.

          It is likely she and her husband were entitled to diplomatic immunity based on her likely background (i.e. intelligence gathering) and the agreements that the UK and US have in-place. Based on how quickly she was removed either that entitlement had expired or information required to prove she was entitled would have been embarrassing to some or all parties.

          It's not fair but I don't see justice ever being done without some significant compromise (i.e. 1-2 years served in the US after her children reach adulthood) regardless of political changes in the US or UK.

          1. Julz Silver badge

            Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

            The question to ask is who was the senior spook, her husband or her?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

            I don't think allowing the criminal to set the length and time of their sentence ("after her children reach adulthood") is really compatible with justice being done.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

              "I don't think allowing the criminal to set the length and time of their sentence ("after her children reach adulthood") is really compatible with justice being done."

              I'm not disputing that - but the law doesn't always give justice.

              Where there is a significant differences between the two, the laws are changed and the outcomes are different in the future. However, this won't alter the outcome in the current case unless the US concedes there was no basis for diplomatic immunity.

              At the moment, those laws haven't changed but there is potential for change - something that has altered considerably in the last ~20 years. The fact it is still being discussed in the media after ~1 year with extradition as a "possibility" that the UK government is pursuing backs that up. Normally this would have been buried within a few months, regardless of country (i.e. European/UK/ex-Commonwealth) because that was the way intelligence agencies worked in the past.

          3. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

            There's lots to be said about the oddness of the situation surrounding the case in question, as is the oddness of how Trump practically ambushed the family with his "she's in the next room, do you want to talk to her" tactic. I hope the family get their justice even if it takes a while to get it.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: I thought we had abandoned extradition

        "Obnoxious as it is, and infuriating for all parties as it is, it is highly questionable the extradition request would survive contact with a court room while both governments agree she is entitled to diplomatic immunity."

        Sorry, no. Diplomatic immunity covers acts perpetrated in the country. Once you leave the country, immunity expires, and is no longer valid. She can be extradited no problem. Pompeo/Trump refuse, that's the difference.

        1. Julz Silver badge

          Sorry

          Confused.

          She was in the UK with diplomatic immunity, as both sides agree. So the alleged act was covered by the immunity, so no extradition as what might have been done can't be used as grounds for extradition.

          She is now out of the UK, so no diplomatic immunity but the alleged act happened when she did. Still no grounds for extradition.

          Am I missing something?

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    IOW Guilty. Very.

    Oh and BTW the extradition thing....

    Non symmetric standards of proof.

    Tony Blairs little love token during his bromance with "W"*

    *Stands for Walker. Although I can think of a few other words that would be appropriate, some of them quite close to walker.

    1. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: IOW Guilty. Very.

      Nonsense. The US has had the better end of extradition treaties with the UK since long before Blair, as well as most other countries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IOW Guilty. Very.

        Define "better"...

        Better for the government or better for citizens? The US handling difficult or annoying problems is seen as better by some.

        Why send someone to the UK when you can't guarantee the result in the UK legal system? Or worse, the result may be embarrassing.

  6. MiguelC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "We rather regard any resort to the privilege against self-incrimination as a black mark."

    Wow, just wow.

    They're basically saying that the whole point of the existence of that privilege (if you can call it that) is for defendants to imply their guilt by using it?

    1. First Light Bronze badge

      Re: "We rather regard any resort to the privilege against self-incrimination as a black mark."

      Same thing with the right to silence in the UK. The weakening of the right to silence began in NI in 1988, was later extended to the entire UK.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: "We rather regard any resort to the privilege against self-incrimination as a black mark."

      "Wow, just wow."

      The UK has a right to silence, but if people ask you all sorts of questions and you refuse to answer, any reasonable person would infer something from that. The UK version of Miranda is:

      “You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

      1. Bonzo_red

        Re: "We rather regard any resort to the privilege against self-incrimination as a black mark."

        Or in other words, if you use the time between arrest and trial to dream up some cock and bull story, the courts are entitled to view this with suspicion.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "We rather regard any resort to the privilege against self-incrimination as a black mark."

        if people ask you all sorts of questions and you refuse to answer, any reasonable person would infer something from that

        For example, a reasonable person might infer that you consider civil rights more important than law enforcement's right to conduct bullshit interrogations.

        In the US, the right to silence is absolutely critical and should always be exercised, except as specifically advised by counsel, because the federal government has made any misstatement to federal officers a felony, and is very happy to imprison people based on that principle.

        The UK version is an institutionalization of the principle that "only the guilty have something to hide", and as such is inherently immoral. That should be obvious to anyone capable of critical thought and with a decent grasp of the human condition.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    This is still HP's fault

    Honestly, I don't really care if Autonomy was cooking the books. I's not good if it was, for sure, but frankly, I still hold HP completely responsible for being conned in the first place.

    I said it before and I'll say it again : if I buy a house on the basis of nice pictures, then find out once I've paid that those pictures were just canvas photos in lieu of a a run-down ruin, I don't think that the courts would grant me any recourse. So why does HP get one ? Especially since HP had the time and power to do due diligence, and more especially since there were people in HP that were dead against the whole deal in the first place, with good reason.

    HP should lose this case, for the example. Maybe Hussain should be condemned, not judging that, but HP should still definitely lose.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This is still HP's fault

      I'd go even further. The value of something in the open market is the price someone is willing to pay and someone else to accept. HP made an offer at a given price which was accepted therefore that was its value at the time. Not more. No less. That.

    2. Nate Amsden

      Re: This is still HP's fault

      Never bought a house so perhaps someone could chime in. I read a thread recently about someone buying a house only to find out it had tons of hidden water damage something like 25% of the value of the house. The inspector didn't flag it. Someone replied if the buyer can provide expert testimony saying there's no way the seller couldn't of known of the extensive damage and did not disclose it then it's not difficult to win a suit against the seller to get them to pay for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is still HP's fault

        "The inspector didn't flag it. "

        Then the inspector or his company will likely have an insurance company to cover the buyers loss. The insurance company may then be able to re-coup costs from the seller but the buyer should reach a settlement for repairs.

        Making the comparison with HP/Autonomy, KPMG acted as the "inspector". Instead of being able to inspect the "property" they got a look at a photo wrote a list of potential issues, HP ignored the inspectors advice and proceeded with the purchase.

        HP can't sue the "inspector" because they screwed up and didn't complete due diligence and KPMG was paid in-spite of not being able to complete the work to meet HP's contractual commitments.

        The real question is whether Autonomy committed any meaningful fraud - some of the "fraud" HP has highlighted is the crystallisation of US tax liabilities that only occurred post-acquisition. The limited KPMG due diligence highlighted this but HP didn't appear to realise until it bungled the acquisition and then started pointing fingers.

        HP found some dirt and an American who was implicated and prepared to act as a witness to convict a foreigner leaving poor old HP the victim and avoiding a shareholder backlash against the board who may have ended up much poorer in the ensuing lawsuit. So e-mails containing interim, unaudited financial statements given to HP by Autonomy became wire fraud.....

      2. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: This is still HP's fault

        Never bought a house so perhaps someone could chime in. I read a thread recently about someone buying a house only to find out it had tons of hidden water damage something like 25% of the value of the house. The inspector didn't flag it. Someone replied if the buyer can provide expert testimony saying there's no way the seller couldn't of known of the extensive damage and did not disclose it then it's not difficult to win a suit against the seller to get them to pay for it.

        There is a standard in most, if not all, of the US that if the seller knew of the defect in the house the seller is in jeopardy of being sued. If the seller did not know of the defect, but it would be reasonably expected to be noticed in a standard inspection,and a bonded licensed inspector did not catch it, the inspector's professional insurance would pony up and then the insurer nails the inspector. If the seller can't be proven to have known about it, and it wasn't likely to have been caught by a standard inspection, the buyer is just SOL. Whether the buyer's insurance will pay is in the lap of the gods and lawyers.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: This is still HP's fault

          If a professional inspector didn't find it it could be hard to prove the seller must have known.

      3. Imhotep Silver badge

        Re: This is still HP's fault

        IIRC, in Missouri the seller is required to fill out a form listing known defects. If you omit something you are aware of, that can cost you.

        Every state varies though.

    3. a pressbutton

      Re: This is still HP's fault

      The 'house' analogy needs a little refinement.

      Consider a row of very similar houses.

      Some are 250K, some are 500k, one is 1.3m

      HP chose the one that was 1.3m on the basis that they thought someone else wanted it and they thought it had potential to extend.

      ...and they did get a survey, but did not read it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This is still HP's fault

        Not only didn't read it, didn't wait for it to be completed.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: This is still HP's fault

      It's entirely possible for both parties to be at fault here. What I've read of the case, in the Reg and elsewhere, suggests that is in fact what we have.

      That said, the sentence against Hussein seems rather disproportionate to me. But then I think that's true of a great many sentences in US criminal and civil cases. Unfortunately there is little political will to correct the situation.

    5. oiseau Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: This is still HP's fault

      "... hold HP completely responsible ..."

      "... had the time and power to do due diligence ..."

      "... people in HP that were dead against the whole deal ..."

      Exactly, there's really no two ways about it.

      Like I've said before: it is quite obvious that HP's top brass screwed up.

      Jumped in without looking first, trying to trump Oracle, ignoring all those who firmly opposed the deal and now they're needing someone to blame for the pool not having quite enough water.

      Now, it would seem that in the US you can more or less file a lawsuit for just about anything you consider to be a legitimate grievance and actually be accepted in court, apparently with no limits to your (legal) imagination.

      How is it that this scandal has not become the object of a huge shareholder/class-action suit against all those involved?

      I mean, 8.8 billion is a number you do not play the fool with, yours or not.

      Such a lawsuit should put things straight very quickly.

      O.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    None of Autonomy or HPE (or KPMG) come out of this well but the 3 parties appear to have been criminal, stupid and incompetent respectively.

  9. Ashto5

    No Extradition

    The UK should NEVER extradite to the US.

    The US does not extradite it’s citizens to any other country, crimes committed abroad are NOT punishable in the US.

    Why do you think she fled there, it was always the safest place for a US citizen who killed someone in another country.

    Stop ALL extraditions to the US

    They are using internal law and applying it to the whole world, the UK is mad to let them do this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Extradition

      The internet reports that your claim of "The US does not extradite it’s citizens to any other country" is false. A google search for "number of US citizens extradited to UK" returns links stating that between 2004-2011 7 US citizens were extradited to the UK. I did not go beyond the first page, so did not see any more recent data.

      One article returned on that search notes that the law was changed to allow extradition of US citizens in 1990. A claim of "The US did not extradite its citizens prior to 1990" would have been correct. This was not what you wrote.

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