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Tech Billionaire Mike Lynch Acquitted in High-Stakes Fraud Case



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Tech magnate Mike Lynch, once revered as the technology titan of Britain, has been acquitted of charges in a high-stakes fraud trial surrounding the $11 billion acquisition deal of his company, Autonomy, by Silicon Valley giant Hewlett Packard.

The federal court jury in San Francisco delivered not-guilty verdicts after an extensive 11-week trial that scrutinized HP’s ill-fated takeover of Autonomy in 2011, which initially appeared as a strategic triumph but later turned into a costly debacle under HP’s then-CEO Meg Whitman.

The jury’s decision exonerated Lynch on all 15 felony counts he faced, with a securities fraud charge being dismissed by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer towards the end of the trial.

Lynch, once dubbed the ‘Bill Gates of Britain’, had been ensnared in legal battles and extradited from the U.K. following the allegations that tarnished his reputation as a tech visionary who negotiated a lucrative Autonomy sale, pocketing over $800 million.

The verdict serves as a triumph for Lynch, casting HP as a tech company plagued by mismanagement, while it marks another blow for Hewlett Packard, which struggled to recover from the Autonomy debacle that marred its longstanding legacy in Silicon Valley.

After the jury’s verdict was read, Lynch, visibly emotional, embraced his lawyer and expressed his relief before eagerly anticipating a return to the U.K. to reunite with his family and resume his passion for innovation in his field.

Another figure entangled in the trial, former Autonomy finance executive Stephen Chamberlain, was also cleared of fraud charges by the same jury, culminating a complex legal battle that accused the duo of inflating Autonomy’s revenue.

Amidst testimonies from over 30 witnesses during the trial, Lynch took the stand in his defense, refuting any wrongdoing and attributing HP’s misfortunes to Whitman’s scapegoating tactics amid the company’s financial decline and internal turmoil.

The trial revisited HP’s tumultuous journey under Whitman’s leadership, shedding light on the company’s strategic missteps and financial woes post-Autonomy acquisition, with former HP CEO Leo Apotheker testifying to Lynch’s alleged misconduct in the deal.

Federal prosecutors portrayed Lynch as a scheming leader during his tenure at Autonomy, while Lynch’s defense characterized him as an innovative tech enthusiast, challenging the narrative of deceit that had clouded the once-lauded Autonomy acquisition.

Rachel Adams

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