Email evidence revealed in Facebook founding dispute

Mark Zuckerberg faces a renewed legal challenge over the founding of Facebook, following new evidence to back one man’s claims to a stake in the company.

Email evidence revealed in Facebook founding dispute

Last year, Paul Ceglia claimed he owned as much as 84% of Facebook, which has recently been valued at $50 billion by Wall Street investors.

At the time, the claim looked thin – not helped by the fact that Ceglia had a criminal record over fraud charges and had waited nearly seven years before staking his claim.

However, Ceglia later produced a contract between the pair and has now backed that up with a series of emails between Zuckerberg and Ceglia during 2003 and 2004, from when the pair apparently tried to get Facebook and another project called StreetFax off the ground.

I’m starting to think that you just blew that money, Mark – you know you can’t takes a person’s investment and spend it on women and beer

The emails – documented on Business Insider – highlight discussions between Ceglia and Zuckerberg over who owed who what for development and funding during the early months of Facebook.

“I’m starting to think that you just blew that money, Mark – you know you can’t takes a person’s investment and spend it on women and beer,” Ceglia wrote in one 2004 email, before threatenening to tell Zuckerberg’s parents about the situation.

Facebook has said the emails, like the original contract, were fake, but if genuine they would add weight to the claims that the pair worked together over the start-up period and could prove costly for Zuckerberg.

Coincidentally, the emails surfaced on the same day that a judge attempted to draw the line under another claim to the Facebook empire.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss had previously been granted $65 million in a 2008 court case over claims to the company, but had been seeking a larger settlement in a US appeals court.

The appeals court yesterday told the twins they should accept the initial payment and move on.

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