THE UK'S Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has completed its study into HP's purchase of Autonomy and found that there is nothing particularly scandalous about it, at least not in this country.
The deal caused controversy after HP suggested that it had been misled into overinvesting in Autonomy.
HP paid around $11bn for Autonomy in 2001, but soon realised, or believed, that it had invested in something that looked a lot like a pup.
The SFO became embroiled in the blame game in 2013 after the case was referred to the organisation by HP. It is now backing out and leaving a final decision to its peers in the US.
"In respect of some aspects of the allegations, the SFO has concluded that, on the information available to it, there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction," the SFO said in a statement.
"In respect of other aspects and on the application of well-established principles, jurisdiction over the investigation has been ceded to the US authorities whose investigation is ongoing."
In sotto voce notes underneath the statement the SFO reminds us that it is an HP Autonomy customer, but adds that it did not allow this to affect its investigation.
The SFO added that it does not have much more to say for fear of affecting the investigations in the US.
"We welcome the SFO's decision to close its investigation. As we have always said, HP's allegations are false and we are pleased that, after a two-year review of the material presented by HP, the SFO has concluded that there is not a case to pursue," he said.
"Let's remember: HP made allegations of a $5bn fraud, and presented the case in public as a slam dunk. HP now faces serious questions of its own about its conduct in this case and the false statements it has made."
We asked HP to comment, and was told that this is not the end of the story.
"As the SFO made clear, the US authorities are continuing their investigation and we continue to cooperate with their investigation," said a spokesperson.
"HP remains committed to holding the architects of the Autonomy fraud accountable." µ
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