The National Court of Justice has thrown out an appeal by Paul Ceglia and ordered his extradition to the U.S. Ceglia, a one-time Cuenca expat, is accused of attempting to defraud Mark Zuckerberg of ownership of Facebook. According to U.S. law enforcement authorities, Ceglia was awaiting trial in New York when he removed a court-ordered tracking bracelet and fled to Ecuador in 2015.
In a brief statement, the judges said, “The National Court of Justice, sitting in special chambers as a court of appeal for criminal matters … unanimously denies the appeal filed by the U.S. citizen Paul Ceglia, considering it inadmissible.” The order further stated that, following a final decision by President Lenin Morneo, law enforcement authorities make arrangements with the U.S. embassy for Ceglia’s deportation.
Under Ecuadorian law, the president must certify all court decisions affecting foreign policy, including extraditions. According to his attorney, Ceglia will appeal to Moreno to have the extradition order cancelled on the grounds that his son, Orion, was born in Ecuador.
A native of New York state, Ceglia was ordered to stand trial in 2012 by a Buffalo judge on charges that he had falsely claimed to own half of Facebook. In 2003, Ceglia had initiated legal action against Facebook based on a contract he said he and Zuckerberg had signed while they were students at Harvard University giving him partial ownership of the company. A judge ruled that the contract was a forgery.
The subject of a world-wide manhunt by U.S. law enforcement officials, Ceglia was arrested in Salinas in August 2018 based on tips from Cuenca expats Vadim and Eugenia Avdeev, who had worked with him on several internet-based projects.
Ceglia had been living in the Cuenca suburb of Challuabamba under an assumed name.
For more about the Ceglia case, click here.