A judge said Tuesday she is leaning toward dismissing a lawsuit that a co-founder of Skype filed against his ex-girlfriend, demanding she return a $471,000 ring and other property he gave her in expectation that she would marry him.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill said she tended to agree with lawyers for Danish singer Aura Dione that the case should be brought in Denmark because neither the plaintiff, Janus Friis, nor the entertainer live in California. Most of the witnesses also reside outside the state, according to Dione’s attorneys.
Hill deferred a final ruling on the dismissal motion until at least April 7, when she will hold another hearing after reviewing additional written evidence from Dione’s lawyers.
Friis sued Dione, whose real names is Maria Louise Joensen, last Aug. 27. The suit alleges that after Friis found out that Dione was cheating on him, he demanded the return of the engagement ring, designer clothes, a $6,000 handbag and other pricey items, most of which he says were bought in California.
“I only gave these gifts to her because I believed at the time that we were in a mutual relationship of trust and equality that was to culminate in marriage,” Friis says in a sworn statement.
The couple’s engagement ended when Friis learned “of Aura’s many indiscretions and her pattern of deceit, which took place, for the most part, in California,” according to his court papers. Dione’s lawyers said Dione is a resident of Denmark and Friis of Great Britain, although he was born in Copenhagen, and the case does not belong in a California court.
“California has no interest whatsoever in resolving a dispute between two parties residing outside the United States concerning property outside the United States,” according to Dione’s attorneys court papers.
Dione is willing to accept service of a complaint filed in Denmark, according to her attorneys.
The 31-year-old singer states in her own sworn declaration that the had only limited contact with Friis in California in 2014.
“Friis told me that he wanted to avoid spending time in the United States so as not to trigger United States tax liability,” Dione says.
Friis, now 39, proposed while the couple was flying from London to Denmark in his private jet in August 2013, according to Dione.
She says she returned permanently to Denmark last August.
Friis and Niklas Zennstrom co-founded Skype and sold it to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005.
— Wire reports