The social network says the computers that a New York judge ordered turned over show "smoking gun" evidence of fraud - but the man who once employed Zuckerberg is said to be no longer in the US.
Paul Ceglia is said by the social network to have made the move from his home in in Wellsville, New York. Ceglia, 38, said in an interview last year that he and his family lived in Ireland for six years when he was a child.Facebook also says in court filings this week reported by Bloomberg News that computers turned over by Ceglia show "smoking gun" evidence of fraud. Zuckerberg worked for Ceglia in 2003 when he was 18 and a student at Harvard , writing computer code for StreetFax.com, a company that Ceglia was setting up in Boston to sell photographs of streets and intersections to insurance companies and others . Zuckerberg says that in a Boston hotel he signed a contract with Ceglia for the StreetFax work- but it had nothing to do with Facebook. However, he no longer has his copy of the contract, the court has been told. Ceglia sued Facebook and Zuckerberg last year, claiming the two-page contract Zuckerberg signed gave Ceglia half of Facebook - when the service was started the following year. The social network, based in California, is now said to be worth as much as $70 billion. Facebook's lawyers say Ceglia appeared to have taken Page 2 of the signed StreetFax contract and appended it to a doctored version of Page 1 which Cegla had edited by adding references to "The Face Book." Judge Leslie Foschio in Federal court in Buffalo, New York, last month ordered Ceglia to let Facebook run forensic tests on his computers, hard drives and electronic storage media, as well as on the contract and the email he says support his claim. In a court filing late on Thursday, Facebook said, "Defendants have uncovered smoking-gun evidence that the purported contract at the heart of this case is a fabrication." Because of a confidentiality order in the case, Facebook didn't identify the evidence it says was "embedded in the electronic data on Ceglia's computer." Last month Judge Foschio ordered Ceglia to turn over evidence for testing by Facebook after the company argued Ceglia's case was a "fraud on the court." The two parties are accusing each other of not fully complying with the judge's orders. A hearing has been set for August 17.