Autonomy founder Mike Lynch has gone on the attack ahead of Hewlett-Packard's annual meeting, demanding evidence for a series of allegations the US giant has made against the UK software company and accusing it of "aggressive and unusual behaviour".
The British entrepreneur has issued an open letter to HP shareholders ahead of the meeting in California on Wednesday, asking for further clarity over allegations made by the US technology group of "accounting improprieties" by Autonomy.
HP, which is led by Meg Whitman, accused the UK software group of "outright misrepresentation" of its financial results prior to the takeover, alleging $5bn of the $8.8bn charge resulted from "serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures" by Autonomy.
In the open letter published on Wednesday , Mr Lynch poses five questions that he believes should be answered by HP's board of directors.
The questions include a call for "details and evidence" of the allegations HP has made against Autonomy's former management team to be made available to shareholders and to the "people it has accused".
Mr Lynch also wants the board to explain how it calculated the $8.8bn impairment charge it has taken against Autonomy and asks if the US company approached the UK Takeover Panel "at any stage" in an attempt to rescind its takeover offer.
"The former management of Autonomy began alerting Ms Whitman as early as December 2011 to significant problems with the integration of Autonomy into HP that were negatively impacting its performance," the open letter reads.
"When did Ms Whitman acknowledge that Autonomy was not performing against expectations? Why was this not communicated to shareholders at that time?"
Mr Lynch also calls on HP to commit to behaving in a "transparent manner providing information about these allegations and the legal processes that have been set in motion".
"This includes not pre-empting announcements by regulatory authorities and not waiting long periods to disclose information," the letter reads.
Autonomy strongly rejects HP's allegations. It emerged earlier this month that Autonomy was under investigation by both US regulators and the UK's Serious Fraud Office.
"HP has acted in an aggressive and unusual manner throughout this episode, making highly damaging public accusations without providing any supporting evidence, either to the public or to the people they have accused," Mr Lynch concludes in the letter.
HP said in a statement: "HP’s position is the same as it has been from the beginning. We have handed over our information of serious misrepresentations in Autonomy's accounting to the proper authorities, namely the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the Department of Justice and in the UK the SFO. We continue to cooperate and provide requested information to the relevant authorities on an ongoing basis.”