A former chief financial officer of UK software company Autonomy who was convicted of fraud in San Francisco has filed two motions to try to overturn his criminal conviction before a civil trial next year.
Sushovan Hussain was convicted this month on 16 counts of wire and securities fraud after a two-month trial in San Francisco. The prosecution was linked to the 2011 sale of Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard for $11bn.
The prosecution case was that he made bogus statements to investors to inflate Autonomy’s performance ahead of the sale. The US federal case was brought after the UK’s Serious Fraud Office declined to pursue the allegations in 2015, saying it had “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction”.
Hussain, and Autonomy’s founder and former chief executive, Mike Lynch, now face an $5.1bn High Court civil case in London brought by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The company is claiming damages from Mr Lynch and Hussain. Both men are defending the case and Mr Lynch has counter-sued over lost investment opportunities and reputational damage.
The High Court case is one of the biggest claims to be brought in the English courts this decade and is set to start next March and last at least 23 weeks.
On Thursday, the High Court heard that Hussain had this week filed an acquittal motion in the US and a further motion for a new trial, which will be heard in June.
His sentencing in California has been set for August 24; he could face a maximum sentence of more than 20 years if his appeal were unsuccessful.
His English lawyers asked the High Court to grant further time for Hussain, a British citizen, to file a witness statement as part of his defence of the High Court case, because he is currently in California preparing for his US appeals.
Simon Salzedo QC, acting for Hussain, told the court: “Mr Hussain asserts his innocence and continues to do so and wants to defend these proceedings. He faces charges which bear a very heavy maximum sentence in America and he is a man whose life is in England and family is in England.”
There have been years of legal battles over the Autonomy deal. The High Court case next March centres on HP’s decision in November 2012 to take a $5bn writedown on the deal 12 months after it happened.
HP later claimed it had uncovered a fraud at Autonomy that had been used to inflate earnings before the transaction. Mr Lynch in turn accused the US company of making up the claim to cover its own mismanagement of the company.
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