Facebook Asks Dismissal of ‘Fraudulent’ Ownership Claim

Facebook Inc. (FB), the world’s biggest social network, asked a judge to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s ownership claim, calling it a fraud on the court.

Ceglia, a western New York man, claims that a 2003 contract with Facebook’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, gave him half the company when it was started the following year. Ceglia says he is now entitled to half of Zuckerberg’s holdings.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, accuses Ceglia of forging the contract and creating phony e-mails to support his claim. In papers in federal court in Buffalo, New York, the company today asked to have the case thrown out.

Facebook filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering. It’s worth an estimated $93.6 billion, according to SharesPost.com, which tracks nonpublic companies.

The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 1:10-cv-00569, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York (Buffalo).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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