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Facebook has produced what it claims is “smoking gun” evidence that a New York man’s contentious claim to majority ownership of the hugely successful social network is fraudulent.
In the midst of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zukerberg shaking off the Winklevoss twins’ legal hounding, Paul Ceglia filed a suit claiming 84 percent ownership of Facebook.
His case rested on what was always regarded as a highly suspicious contract which he claimed showed that in April of 2003, he had contracted Zuckerberg to design a website called “The Face Book” or “The Page Book”.
Lawyers for Facebook and Zuckerberg have argued, though, that the submission by Ceglia is a doctored version of another contract between Zuckerberg and Ceglia which concerns work Zuckerberg did for Ceglia in 2003. The work Zuckerberg did for Ceglia, as per Facebook’s copy of the contract, however, was for a website called StreetFax.
The contract makes no mention of Facebook.
StreetFax was a website which reportedly provided a photo database of traffic intersections for insurance adjusters.
“The court-ordered forensic testing has uncovered the authentic contract between Mark Zuckerberg and StreetFax that Ceglia attempted to conceal”, Facebook’s filing said.
“The authentic contract — which mentions only StreetFax and has nothing to do with Facebook — was found embedded in the electronic data from 2004 on Ceglia’s computer”, Facebook said.
“This smoking-gun evidence confirms what Defendants have said all along: The purported contract attached to the complaint [by Ceglia] is an outright fabrication,” it said.
Facebook said it would ask the court to dismiss the case on the basis of “the now-overwhelming evidence of Ceglia’s fraud, spoliation and subterfuge”.
Facebook lawyers have repeatedly denounced the suit by Ceglia as a “brazen and outrageous fraud” and in the latest filing described him as a “hustler”.
Speaking with ZDNet.com from Ireland where he has reportedly fled to escape media hounding, Ceglia claims that Facebook’s “smoking gun” contract, and not his, is the fabrication.
He went on to claim that Zuckerberg himself may have done the actual forgery.
Ceglia also said “You won’t go public Mark, you won’t IPO, you won’t pass go. I won’t let you sell this company out from under me not while I have the power to stop you”.
Ceglia also called on anyone with legal or technical expertise (to prove the forgery) to join his cause at paulscase.com.