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eBay in legal tussle with Craigslist

Craigslist is accusing eBay of stealing insider information to launch Kijiji

eBay in legal tussle with Craigslist
Pierre Omidyar, chairman and founder of eBay and other top-ranking company members are under scrutiny from a US court after Craigslist accused eBay of stealing Craigslist corporate information.

eBay employees are facing a criminal investigation by US prosecutors, into whether they obtained confidential information from classified ad website Craigslist, to build a rival site, according to Reuters.

eBay and Craigslist have been arguing in court for years over accusations that eBay took shares, and gained seats on the board of Craigslist, and then used board member privilege to gain information about Craigslist, possibly under false pretences, to develop its own classifieds site.

A subpoena issued by the US court asks for information on several top-level eBay employees, including founder and Chairman Pierre Omidyar and former Skype chief executive and eBay representative on the Craigslist board, Joshua Silverman.

"eBay believes that Craigslist's allegations against eBay are without merit," An eBay spokeswoman, Amanda Miller said in an email to Reuters on Tuesday. "We will continue to vigorously defend ourselves, and we will aggressively pursue our claims against Craigslist."

The subpoena, issued by a federal grand jury in San Jose, California, last week on behalf of the US Justice Department seeks a range of documents and information, some of which match requests in another civil lawsuit filed by Craigslist against eBay in a San Francisco court.

The subpoena also seeks documents about allegations that Silverman provided an eBay employee "with insider information about Craigslist management and provided recommendations to the eBay team responsible for the launch of Kijiji".

Silverman, currently president of the US Consumer Services business at American Express, declined to comment.

eBay shares fell slightly on the news, trading at $29 on Tuesday in after-hours trading, down from $29.40 at market close.

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