Legal

Autonomy’s Ex-CFO Gets Five Years For Accounting Fraud

The former CFO of Autonomy has been sentenced to five years in prison for accounting fraud.

Sushovan Hussain was convicted on 16 counts of wire and securities fraud last year, related the $11 billion sale of the software company to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011, according to Financial Times. Hussain was found guilty of making false statements to investors about Autonomy’s performance, which led to HP writing down the value of its acquisition by $8.8 billion.

Hussain was also sentenced to an additional three years of supervised release, and was fined $4 million. Judge Charles Breyer set the forfeiture payment at $6.1 million, which is what Hussain personally received as a result of the sale. While the judge declined to set a restitution payment for HP, he noted that the decision should “not be interpreted to mean there was no loss in the case — there was an enormous loss.”

Hussain’s attorney requested bail and a stay on the $6.1 million payment pending an appeal, which was denied by Breyer, who added that he believed Hussain was a “decent person,” but “firmly” agreed with the jury’s verdict. The judge pointed out that Hussain had engaged in a “methodical, long-term pattern” of making false statements because he believed that, “in a business that is directed [toward] growth, that growth and the future will take care of any shortcomings in the past.”

According to Breyer, as the company’s CFO, Hussain had “corrupted a number of innocent people” and “could direct people who were subordinate to [him] to commit these types of offenses.” As a result, Breyer found Hussain “more blameworthy” than co-conspirators.

Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch is currently on trial in the U.K. in a civil case related to the deal. In addition, he has been charged with conspiracy and fraud by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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