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British tech pioneer Mike Lynch acquitted at U.S. fraud trial

Autonomy founder Mike Lynch was acquitted of fraud on Thursday by a jury in San Francisco, a major win for the entrepreneur who has been dogged by legal problems since the disastrous sale of his company to Hewlett-Packard for $11 billion in 2011.

Representatives for Lynch and U.S. prosecutors said Lynch was acquitted on all 15 charges — one count of conspiracy, and 14 counts of wire fraud, each connected to specific transactions or communications.

Former Autonomy finance executive Stephen Chamberlain, who faced the same charges at trial alongside Lynch, was also acquitted on all counts, the Lynch representative said.

The trial where prosecutors said Lynch and Chamberlain schemed to inflate Autonomy's revenue was the latest chapter in a legal saga stemming from the failed deal.

The Autonomy sale was one of the biggest British tech deals at the time but quickly went sour, with HP writing down Autonomy's value by $8.8 billion within a year.

At the trial, which lasted three months, jurors heard from more than 30 government witnesses including Leo Apotheker, the former HP CEO who was fired weeks after the Autonomy deal was announced.

Lynch also took the stand in his own defense at the trial, denying wrongdoing and telling jurors that HP botched the two companies' integration.

Prosecutors said Lynch and Chamberlain padded Autonomy's finances in several ways, including back-dated agreements and "round-trip" deals that fronted cash to customers through fake contracts.

Lynch's legal team argued at trial that HP was so eager to acquire Autonomy ahead of potential competitors that it rushed through due diligence before the sale.

On the stand, the Cambridge University-educated entrepreneur said he had been focused on tech issues, and