FRC parks complaint against Autonomy finance VP

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is to defer its formal complaint against Stephen Chamberlain, former vice president of finance at software company Autonomy,  pending the outcome of criminal charges, which include 15 counts of fraud, that he faces trial for in the US

A year ago, the regulator announced plans for a tribunal hearing involving Deloitte, two of the firm’s engagement partners, Sushovan Hussain, the former chief financial officer at Autonomy, and Chamberlain, over alleged accounting irregularities in the run-up to the company’s acquisition by Hewlett-Packard (HP).

The complaints follow an investigation by the FRC into Autonomy’s financial reporting between 1 January 2009 and 30 June 2011, following discrepancies over revenue recognition figures used in the HP acquisition.

Now the regulator said Chamberlain has consented to an order suspending him from ICAEW until the formal complaint against him can be heard. 

In November 2018 the FRC stayed its formal complaint against Hussain, Autonomy’s former CFO, and he was suspended as a member of the ICAEW at the same time.

However, the formal complaint against Deloitte, and audit engagement partners Richard Knights and Nigel Mercer in relation to Autonomy is unaffected by the stay and interim order involving Chamberlain.

HP’s purchase of Autonomy for $11bn (£8.4bn) in 2011 became mired in controversy after the company wrote down $8.8bn the following year, of which $5bn related to alleged accounting irregularities and alleged misrepresentation of how software rental and acquisitions were shown.

Pat Sweet

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