Facebook rejects NY man's claim of half-ownership

Mark Zuckerberg Mr Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004

Related Stories

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that an alleged contract and e-mails that a New York man claims entitle him to a 50% stake in the social networking site are "forgeries".

Paul Ceglia says that Mr Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003 which gave Mr Ceglia half-ownership of Facebook.

In a court filing, Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg demand that Mr Ceglia turn over the alleged contract and e-mails.

Lawyers representing Mr Ceglia disputed Facebook's claims.

"Those so-called expert opinions have been provided without examining the actual contract which is at issue in the case," said Dennis C Vacco, who is one of Mr Ceglia's attorneys.

'Cut-and-paste job'

In a filing made at the US District Court in Buffalo, Mr Zuckerberg said he provided web development services in 2003 for StreetFax, a business Mr Ceglia was trying to start at the time.

He said he signed a contract drafted by Mr Ceglia, a wood pellet salesman, which referred only to the work he did for StreetFax.

"Zuckerberg and Ceglia never discussed Facebook and they never signed a contract concerning Facebook," the filing said.

"The contract is a cut-and-paste job, the e-mails are complete fabrications, and this entire lawsuit is a fraud."

Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg hope to use forensic testing to show that the documents are fakes.

Facebook is privately owned but estimates of its worth range between $50bn (£30bn) and $76.4bn (£46.7bn).

Twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss also claimed that Mr Zuckerberg stole their website idea while they were all students at Harvard.

In 2008 they reached a settlement which gave them $20m in cash and $45m of stock valued at $36 a share.

They have since unsuccessfully tried to reopen their case against Facebook, claiming that the company concealed information and they should have received more shares.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.