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back to article Probe into Autonomy allegations could take years - report

The federal probe into the alleged book-cooking at Autonomy prior to its acquisition by HP could take years to play out, according to reports. This will not be music to the ears of Mike Lynch, former CEO of Cambridge-based Autonomy, who stands accused, along with his fellow directors, of deceptive accounting irregularities that …

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ql
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Happy

"of high profile law firm Steptoe & Johnson"

Brilliant thinking to add the "John"

(Non-UK readers may have to look it up, but it's not worth while.)

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Re: "of high profile law firm Steptoe & Johnson"

For US readers, Steptoe & Son is the UK show Sanford & Son was based on.

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Re: "of high profile law firm Steptoe & Johnson"

Maybe Sanford and Son stole the plot but there was only one Redd Foxx who could belt out "This is the big one, Lizabeth, I'm coming to join ya" and "Lamont you big dummy".

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Anonymous Coward

Justice?

We really do need some sort of statute of limitations. Basically crimes should have to be reported within x years, but also then they must go to trial within y years of the report, or the case falls. x and y should depend on the nature of the offence, but y really shouldn't be more than say 12 months, or 18 months in the most complicated cases - if the prosecutors can't find enough evidence for a prosecution in 18 months then they're a waste of public money, and if the courts are too busy then that would be an incentive to fund them properly. Obviously there have to be safeguards to prevent delaying tactics, but it's unreasonable and unjust for people to have threats of legal action hanging over their heads for years (and to have to pay legal bills for years). Equally how can people be expected to defend themselves over accusations of offences decades before? (How can an accuser be certain of the details of what happened decades before?)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Justice?

On the other hand, if we make people responsible for events a couple of years past their departure, places like banks would suddenly have a much lower number of skeletons in the bookkeeping. It would also stop the "crap, I've been found out, I'll now 'regretfully' resign on a gazillion strong pension". It should be illegal to give people a golden parachute when they nuked the lives of so many others. But hey, that would be real justice. Can't have the plebs dictating that, can we?

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Re: Justice?

"We really do need some sort of statute of limitations."

We have one for civil actions. But for criminal cases it doesn't wash to say "if they can string it out for long enough, then let them get away with it".

As it happens, the trial of the directors of Torex Retail plc for conspiracy to defraud and false accounting is now coming to a conclusion at Oxford Crown Court, in relation to their activities in 2006 that precipitated the collapse of the company. It would seem that any investigation (and any trial) into Autonomy's accounts would take an equally long time. I agree that's wrong, but to suggest that the (potentially) guilty should walk just because the process is slow is idiotic.

At least the drawn out process makes up a tiny bit for the laughable sentences that fraudsters receive - although the innocent would see that differently.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, the effort, the effort..

.. to keep the blame away from the obvious suspects: the people who were supposed to do the due diligence.

I had to laugh out loud when I read their protestations that Autonomy didn't tell them that they possibly had some creative accounting going on (which, one must add, still has to be proven) - that is the bloody point of spending money on due diligence. Did the auditors really think they got all that money just for being there and drinking coffee?

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Facepalm

Money, money, money..

The only people to benefit from this will be the lawyers (on both sides). I'll bet they (or more likely their wives) are already talking to the estate agents (realtors for US), luxury car salesmen and planning their next trip to the land of the obscenely wealthy.

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