Last updated: May 28, 2011 12:18 am

Facebook denies Ceglia’s ownership claims

Facebook filed its official legal response to Paul Ceglia on Thursday, denying all allegations made by the man who claims he lent Mark Zuckerberg $1,000 in 2003 to develop Facebook in exchange for partial ownership of the company.

In a court document filed with the US District Court in New York, Facebook called the evidence supporting Mr Ceglia’s claims “doctored” and “fabricated”.

“This lawsuit is a brazen and outrageous fraud on the Court,” Facebook wrote in the document. “Plaintiff is an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders.”

Mr Ceglia originally filed the lawsuit in 2010, offering as evidence a two-page contract purportedly signed by himself and Mark Zuckerberg. Last month, Mr Ceglia amended his original complaint with new evidence: a series of e-mails supposedly exchanged between himself and Mr Zuckerberg further negotiating the terms of their agreement.

Facebook admits in Thursday’s legal document that Mr Zuckerberg did meet Paul Ceglia and did enter into a written agreement to work on a website called StreetFax.com, a database of photographs of traffic intersections to be used by insurance adjusters. Mr Ceglia had said in previous legal filings that he was the developer of StreetFax and that he sometimes hired engineers to work on it.

Facebook denies all claims that Mr Zuckerberg agreed to work with Mr Ceglia on Facebook or any social networking services.

“To be clear, Zuckerberg did not sign the purported agreement, which is a ‘cut-and-paste’ job fraudulently manufactured by plaintiff for this lawsuit,” the document reads.

Facebook is asking the court to dismiss the case and order sanctions on Mr Ceglia for fraud.

Last week, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss were denied their latest request for a rehearing by an appeals court of the lawsuit in which they claimed Mr Zuckerberg stole their idea for building the social network that became Facebook. Attorneys for the twins said they would take the case to the US Supreme Court.

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