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British tech magnate Mike Lynch acquitted of fraud in $11 billion deal with Hewlett Packard

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Mike Lynch, pictured above [File]
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Mike Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s king of technology, has been cleared of charges alleging he orchestrated a fraud and conspiracy leading up to an $11 billion deal that turned into a costly albatross for Silicon Valley pioneer Hewlett Packard.

The not-guilty verdicts reached Thursday by a federal court jury in San Francisco followed an 11-week criminal trial that delved into the history of HP’s 2011 acquisition of Autonomy, a business software that Lynch founded and then oversaw as CEO in Britain. HP at first celebrated the purchase as a huge coup that would propel the Palo Alto, California, company down a promising new path, but then quickly came to regret under its then-CEO Meg Whitman.

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The jury acquitted Lynch on all 15 felony counts facing him. Toward the end of the trial, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer threw out a count of securities fraud included in the U.S. Justice Department case against him in an indictment dating back to 2018. It took years to extradite Lynch from the U.K. and then more legal wrangling before the trial finally began in mid-March.

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