The social networking giant for the first time has released a trove of emails that were sent between its CEO Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneur Paul Ceglia, reports WSJ. Ceglia sued Facebook and its founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in New York state court in 2010, claiming that an April 2003 agreement entitles him to 50% of Zuckerberg’s ownership. Facebook released the emails in order to quash clearly Ceglia’s claims that he is owned 50% of Zuckerberg’s stake in the company.
The duo: Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia had met on Craigslist in 2003 and Ceglia commissioned Zuckerberg to work on his company, StreetFax. Ceglia filed a lawsuit attaching many emails he alleged he had exchanged with Zuckerberg claiming that a contract between him and Zuckerberg showed he invested $1,000 in what would eventually become Facebook.
Facebook released 200 emails in today’s filing that it found on Harvard’s email servers, but couldn’t find anything that corroborates Ceglia’s claims to have invested $1000 in Facebook early on. “World-renowned forensic chemist” Gerald LaPorte was also hired to inspect documents Ceglia claimed he wrote in 2003; LaPorte determined that the ink was “still fresh,” and less than two years old.
Ceglia’s original claim – and what it says in the contract and emails he produced – was for an 84% stake of Facebook. He later amended his claim and said he was only seeking 50% of Zuckerberg’s stake. Facebook’s attorneys, however, said the fact that the emails don’t exist in their native form are evidence of “obvious fraud,” according to their motion on Monday. “Ceglia simply typed text into a Word document and declared it was the text of emails with Zuckerberg,” the motion states.