Is Mike Lynch the world’s most successful conman or what? Judging from today’s revelation that he’s just secured backing to the tune of £1 billion (about $1.57 billion) for his new investment fund, it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion.
Either he’s a damn good liar, or he’s hooked up with some similarly crooked backers, or, or… maybe it’s HP that’s lying?
Who knows, but it’s definitely been one strange day for the UK’s most controversial tech entrepreneur. The former CEO of Autonomy, who’s been accused of committing fraud by inflating the value of his old company by a whopping $6 billion, has just announced details of his new early stage venture fund Invoke Capital, in which he’s teamed up with a number of former Autonomy executives, including its ex-CFO Sushovan Hussain. Already, Invoke Capital has made some significant investments, ploughing an unspecified amount of money into an anti-fraud (yes, seriously) software startup called Featurespace.
Coincidentally, this development comes just hours after it was revealed that UK financial authorities are (finally) going to launch a probe into the controversial Autonomy deal. The UK’s Financial Reporting Council, the body responsible for corperate governance, said that it will be looking at the Big Data firm’s finances from the period Jan 1, 2009 till June 30, 2011, to try and establish whether or not Lynch or anyone else cooked the books to deceive HP.
This immediately raises the question – is Lynch simply playing games, trying to create a smokescreen to deflect attention away from that investigation? Or could it be that Lynch timed this announcement to try and get public opinion onto his side?
After all, you need to spin a damn good story to get the money men to part with the kind of cash that Lynch has just secured, something that SiliconANGLE founder John Furrier has previously stated was “highly unlikely” given the damage done to his reputation. Yet somehow Lynch has managed to do so, and that fact certainly won’t help HP’s case against in him in the eyes of the public.
To be fair to Lynch, we must remember that he’s innocent until proven guilty, and the man himself has steadfastly played the victim from day one, even going so far as to write an open letter to HP shareholders that calls into question some of their own accounting methods, and set up a website that presents the case for his defence.