After alleging last Tuesday that it had been defrauded by the management of takeover target Autonomy, resulting in a $8.8 billion write down, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) itself came under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to Businessweek, "The FBI, responding to an inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is looking into Hewlett-Packard Co.'s allegations of accounting improprieties at its Autonomy Corp. unit, a person familiar with the matter said."
Autonomy founder and former CEO, Mike Lynch has angrily denied HP's allegations.
"HP came in with about 300 people, crawled over everything and you know what? They found nothing. And you know why? There was nothing to find," Lynch said in a television interview with The Telegraph. "What actually happened is that they mismanaged Autonomy and in doing that have destroyed a lot of shareholder value.'"
In the meantime, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman and the rest of the board are trying to distance themselves from the decision to acquire Autonomy. Instead they're blaming former CEO Leo Apotheker and his strategy of moving HP toward becoming less dependent upon hardware and more dependent upon software for its revenue.
HP's advisors in the deal, notably auditing firm Deloitte, are scrambling to shed any responsibility for the alleged fraudulent accounts.
Deloitte, which had audited Autonomy's books for most of a decade issued a statement Wednesday saying, "Deloitte categorically denies that it had any knowledge of any accounting misrepresentations in Autonomy's financial statements."
The Deloitte statement continued, "Deloitte was not engaged by HP, or by Autonomy, to provide any due diligence in relation to the acquisition of Autonomy."