Ex-Autonomy finance chief Sushovan Hussain was too scared to face analyst scrutiny following the software firm’s quarterly results a decade ago, a court heard as his former boss Mike Lynch was cross-examined over an alleged $5.1bn fraud.
Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, and Hussain are being sued by Hewlett Packard (HP) in the UK’s biggest ever civil fraud case.
HP alleges that the pair falsely inflated Autonomy’s revenue ahead of its 2011 sale to the tech giant. Both parties deny the accusations.
In an email ahead of the company’s third quarter results call with analysts in October 2009 Hussain told Lynch that he was worrying about the upcoming conversation “all of the time”.
“I’m spending all my time worrying about ten minutes on Tuesday. I want you to talk… I’m worried about it all of the time rather than the business,” Hussain said, according to an email read out in court.
In response Lynch said: “Relax, it will be fine”.
During his testimony today Lynch, who took a note reminding him to “be calm and polite” to the stand explained Hussain’s nerves were caused by a previous negative experience during an analyst call.
Lynch said: “It was a very sad episode. Mr Hussain is not a very comfortable public speaker and in the previous quarter a group of analysts who did not act in good faith….put him in a position where he had to calculate something on the fly and he made a mistake…and they criticised him for it”.
On Wednesday, as the businessman began his month-long testimony, he was accused of using “fraudulent devices” in order to be “seen as a success story”.
Lynch countered that Autonomy was “one of the most successful companies that England has ever produced”.
The trial continues.