Danny McCance 7 May 2019 10:43am

FRC suspends case against Autonomy finance VP

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has stayed its complaint against former Autonomy vice president of finance Stephen Chamberlain while he awaits the outcome of a criminal case in the US

He faces 15 criminal charges in the US including fraud in relation to the sale of the software company Autonomy to technology giant HP.

The FRC’s tribunal involving Chamberlain originally opened in May, five years after its initial investigation into the $5bn (£3.8bn) accounting scandal.

The US charged Chamberlain alongside the company’s former CEO Mike Lynch with fraud over the $10.3bn acquisition of Autonomy by HP.

They were accused of, among other things, artificially inflating revenues; improperly recording revenue in accordance with IFRS; and make false and misleading statements that Autonomy was a “pure software” company while concealing loss-making resales of hardware.

If convicted Chamberlain could face up to 20 years in prison.

Alongside the order of stay announced today, Chamberlain, who is a chartered accountant, has consented to an order that suspends his membership of the ICAEW until the formal complaint by the FRC can be heard – both the stay and suspension have been dated the 4 April.

In November, the complaint made against former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain was stayed and his membership suspended pending the results of his appeal against a fraud conviction in the US.

In May last year, the FRC opened a disciplinary tribunal hearing against Big Four Firm Deloitte and two of its partners – Richard Knights and Nigel Mercer – alleging that the firm failed to properly audit the UK software company.

This case will remain unaffected by the stay or suspension of Chamberlain.

The case against Lynch, in which Hewlett Packard Enterprises is seeking $5bn, opened in London’s High Court in March and is expected to last nine months.