The former CFO of the British software company Autonomy sought for a second time to block the settlement of a shareholder derivative lawsuit stemming from the acquisition of that company by computing giant Hewlett-Packard.
In a court filing made public Thursday night, Sushovan Hussain argued that with the proposed settlement, HP and its executives hope "never to answer for their mismanagement of the Autonomy acquisition and their own securities fraud."
The filing is the latest step in the ongoing tangle of unfinished business from the $11 billion Autonomy deal in 2011. A year later, HP said it overpaid for the company to the tune of about $5 billion, alleging that Autonomy's management had been cooking the books in order to over-inflate its value.
HP went on to write down about $8.8 billion, of which about $5 billion and change, it said, was attributable to the decreased value of Autonomy.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating HP's accounting fraud allegations against Autonomy's former executives. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation last month.
Today was a court deadline for any objections to a proposed settlement in the shareholder derivative lawsuit between HP and a shareholders group which sued HP in 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The shareholders accused HP of issuing misleading statements about the financial health of Autonomy. Terms of the early settlement deal, since rejected by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, proposed not only to drop claims against HP, its executives and directors including CEO Meg Whitman, and but also for law firms representing the shareholders to assist HP with any criminal charges that might result against former Autonomy execs including Hussain and the company's former CEO Mike Lynch.
HP is on its fourth attempt to obtain approval from the judge for a settlement. The latest proposal includes terms that would basically bar anyone from suing HP over the Autonomy deal, a move which Hussain says amounts to a legal overreach and strips him of his legal rights.