British accountancy watchdog probes Autonomy's books

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:56am EST
 

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's accountancy regulator said it was investigating the financial reports of British software firm Autonomy before it was bought by Hewlett-Packard, a deal that was later subject to accusations of fraud.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), an independent watchdog that sets standards for accountants and auditors, said on Monday it would investigate Autonomy's published accounts between January 1 2009 and June. 30 2011, two months before the deal was announced.

The probe follows consultation with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, a professional organization for accountants, the FRC said.

The body does not have the power to bring criminal charges, but it operates a disciplinary process that can result in the suspension of accountants and fines.

Deloitte which audited Autonomy's accounts, said it would co-operate fully with the FRC probe.

"As previously stated, Deloitte had no knowledge of any accounting improprieties or misrepresentations in Autonomy's financial statements," a spokesman said.

"We conducted our audit work in full compliance with regulation and professional standards."

U.S.-based PC and printer maker Hewlett-Packard paid $11 billion in 2011 to make Autonomy the centerpiece of a shift into software.

But little over a year later it wrote off some $5 billion of the company's value and accused its former management of accounting improprieties that inflated the company's value.   Continued...