Mike Lynch, a British software program mogul who was as soon as considered one of his nation’s most celebrated chief executives, was acquitted of fraud on Thursday in San Francisco federal courtroom, clearing him of expenses that he had led one of many greatest frauds within the expertise business.

A jury discovered him not responsible of falsely inflating income at Autonomy, the corporate he based and led, when he offered it to Hewlett-Packard for $11 billion in 2011.

Mr. Lynch, 58, who confronted a long time in jail, had initially been charged with 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy, although one fraud cost was ultimately dismissed.

Thursday’s verdict, coming after a monthslong trial in California, is a milestone in Mr. Lynch’s decade-long odyssey to clear his title.

HP acquired Autonomy, paying a 60 % premium over its inventory worth, in a bid to rework itself right into a high-growth software program supplier. However questions quickly arose about Autonomy’s figures, and earlier than lengthy the California-based tech pioneer took an $8.8 billion accounting charge on the acquisition, citing “severe accounting improprieties.” HP’s inventory worth plummeted.

The corporate subsequently accused Mr. Lynch and his lieutenants of offering deceptive details about the corporate’s funds.

On the time, buyers referred to as the Autonomy acquisition one of the worst deals in history, and a turning level within the decline of HP as a number one icon of the tech business.

It additionally tarnished the fame of Mr. Lynch, who rose from working-class origins exterior London to the heights of British business. A maker of knowledge analytics software program, Autonomy turned considered one of Britain’s greatest expertise success tales. Mr. Lynch in 2011 was named a scientific adviser to David Cameron, the prime minister on the time, and a director of the BBC.

Mr. Lynch argued that HP executives together with Meg Whitman, the chief govt who fired him, have been blaming him for their very own mismanagement of Autonomy.

In 2018, American federal prosecutors charged Mr. Lynch with fraud, accusations that the manager persistently denied.

The percentages of an acquittal solely diminished over time. Autonomy’s chief monetary officer, Sushovan Hussain, was convicted of comparable expenses and served jail time. And in 2022, a London decide overseeing a civil trial in opposition to Mr. Lynch — a case described as “amongst the longest and most complicated in English authorized historical past” — discovered him accountable for defrauding HP. (HP has sought some $4 billion in damages; Mr. Lynch has argued he owes nothing.)

Final 12 months, Mr. Lynch misplaced a combat to keep away from extradition to the USA. He was taken to San Francisco and confined to a townhouse beneath 24-hour surveillance and court-mandated personal safety, on his dime.

On the California trial, which started in mid-March, prosecutors argued that Mr. Lynch was the “driving drive” behind a sophisticated fraud wherein {hardware} gross sales have been improperly labeled as software program ones to bolster income, and contracts have been backdated. Stephen Chamberlain, a former Autonomy vice chairman of finance, was additionally on trial on related expenses.

Mr. Lynch, who took the stand in his protection, testified that he was not concerned in Autonomy’s day-to-day monetary operations and that he delegated many duties.

Jurors took about two days to succeed in their verdict, discovering Mr. Lynch and Mr. Chamberlain not responsible on all expenses.

“I’m elated with at this time’s verdict and grateful to the jury for his or her consideration to the information over the past 10 weeks,” Mr. Lynch stated in a press release. “I’m wanting ahead to returning to the U.Ok. and getting again to what I like most: my household and innovating in my discipline.”

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