US justice department opens investigation on HP's accusations against Autonomy Corp

The US justice department has opened an investigation relating to Autonomy Corp after Hewlett-Packard Co's accusations of the software company misrepresenting its performance before being bought last year.

Hewlett-Packard said in its annual 10-K regulatory filing that the justice department had, on 21 November, informed the company on the probe.

The computer maker booked an $8.8 billion writedown from Autonomy last month after finding that premature/improper recording of some revenue.

Hewlett-Packard said it is cooperating with authorities while chief executive officer Meg Whitman said the company is working to trace the causes that led to the botched deals and other troubles at the company over the years. The Palo Alto, California-based company added it was providing information to the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch, who exited the company in May, refuted the HP's allegations. He sold the company he cofounded, striking a $10.3 billion deal with Whitman's predecessor, Leo Apotheker.

Yesterday's filing did not include any additional details behind Hewlett-Packard's claims of accounting errors, which made up $5 billion of the writedown.