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US, UK investigating firm bought by HP

US Department of Justice investigators are looking into allegations of accounting fraud at Autonomy, a British software company with offices in the Boston area that Hewlett-Packard Co. bought last year for $11.1 billion.

HP officials have accused former Autonomy executives of misrepresenting the company's finances and inflating its revenue figures prior to the acquisition. Last month, HP took an $8.8 billion charge because it said Autonomy wasn’t worth the original price tag.

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On Thursday, HP officials said on the company’s website that officials from the UK Serious Fraud Office, the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division, and the US Department of Justice are investigating the matter.

The company has also initiated its own investigation. “We believe we have uncovered extensive evidence of a willful effort on behalf of certain former Autonomy employees to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company in order to mislead investors and potential buyers,” it said in a statement.

The British software outfit entered the local market when it bought part of the Boston document storage company Iron Mountain Inc. for $380 million in cash last year. Autonomy purchased some of Iron Mountain’s digital products, and took over an office in Southborough with about 500 Massachusetts employees. Autonomy also has an office in Boston.

HP’s stock dropped 2.5 percent Friday to close at $13.68.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Michael B. Farrell can be reached at
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