Belgian voice farmers Lernout and Hauspie go down

The guys that ran Lernout & Hauspie were sentenced to five years in clink by a court in Belgium. Pol Hauspie and Jo Lernout were found guilty of fraud, along with a number of other suits that used to work for the voice technology company.

Lernout and Hauspie, whose HQ was based in the so-called Flanders Science Park in Ypres, are only likely to serve three out of the five years after L&H collapsed 10 years ago.

Gaston Bastiens, former CEO of L&H and a former Apple employee, also received a three year sentence. But Dexia Bank and KPMG were acquitted of charges against them.

L&H was a high profile company that attracted investment from the likes of Microsoft and other big names. It wheeled out big names like the King of Belgium at jamborees held in Ypres, the site of mass slaughter in the First World War.

Notably, Jo Lernout once kicked off a keynote speech at L&H’s HQ in Ypres at 11AM, on the 11th of November, showing remarkably little judgement or taste.

The voice technology L&H had was flogged off to American corporation Nuance in 2001.