Mike Lynch Acquitted of All Fraud Charges in Hewlett-Packard Case

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British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch was acquitted on Thursday of all 15 fraud charges in connection with the $11.1bn sale of his company, Autonomy, to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.

The trial, which began in March in San Francisco, followed a protracted extradition fight from England to the US, with Lynch first facing charges in 2018. Prosecutors had accused him of inflating sales figures, misleading regulators, and deceiving HP, which wrote down the entire value of Autonomy soon after the deal, citing significant accounting issues.

“I am elated with today’s verdict and grateful to the jury for their attention to the facts over the last 10 weeks,” Lynch said. “My deepest thanks go to my legal team for their tireless work on my behalf. I am looking forward to returning to the UK and getting back to what I love most: my family and innovating in my field.”

During the trial, Lynch maintained his innocence, asserting that Autonomy was not fraudulent, though he admitted it had imperfections. He claimed limited involvement in the company’s day-to-day operations and accounting practices, attributing any irregularities to other executives and employees.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed Lynch as the mastermind behind a long-running fraud, calling over 30 witnesses to support their case. They alleged that Autonomy misrepresented itself as a software company while often bundling hardware and software sales to inflate revenues, and claimed Lynch orchestrated these deceptive practices.

Despite these allegations, the jury found in favour of Lynch, a verdict his attorneys Christopher Morvillo and Brian Heberlig hailed as a “resounding rejection” of the government’s overreach.

“The evidence presented at trial demonstrated conclusively that Mike Lynch is innocent,” Morvillo and Heberlig said. “This verdict closes the book on a relentless 13-year effort to pin HP’s well-documented ineptitude on Dr Lynch. Thankfully, the truth has finally prevailed.”

Lynch, once celebrated as a luminary of the British tech industry, was honoured with an Order of the British Empire in 2006 and was elected as a fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society in 2008 and 2014, respectively.

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