US rapper ordered to pay reward after offering $1m for return of stolen laptop... then refusing to pay
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Friday 30 November 2012
A US rapper has been forced to deliver on his promise of a $1m reward for the return of his stolen laptop - after the man who found it took him to court.
Today American jurors ordered Ryan Leslie to hand the money to Armin Augstein, a 54-year-old garage owner from Pulheim in North Rhine-Westphalia.
“I’m very happy . . . that the American judicial system, which is so totally different from ours, functioned so well with a jury that are not professionals and are laymen,” said Mr Augstein. “No one forced him to make an offer of so much money for a finder’s fee.“
The German insisted in an interview with the New York Post that Mr Leslie was “personally very friendly” on the two occasions that the pair met. But he said he was “disappointed” with his failure to pay.
Mr Leslie initially offered $20,000 (£12,480) for the return of the computer and an external hard-drive, which stored “in-development” songs on them, but later increased the reward.
Mr Augstein found the equipment while walking his dog.
But Mr Leslie argued that the cash was contingent on his being able to retrieve the songs and, when he was unable to do so, he tried to back out of the deal.
The court’s decision to hold him to his promise ends a two-year legal battle.
The judge instructed jurors that, because Mr Leslie returned the hard-drive to the manufacturer when it came back into his possession, it was likely that Mr Augstein had handed it over with the data intact. Jurors felt that the $1m figure was too high and the two sides tried to reach a compromise.
But lawyers for the German demanded the jury reach an all-or-nothing decision. “Mr. Augstein doesn’t just deserve a thank-you; he deserves an apology,” his lawyer Michael Fischman said. The jury’s decision in Mr Augstein’s favour was unanimous.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Leslie said he was considering an appeal.
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Maryland mother found pushing her dead child on a swing in a playground
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Nicola Sturgeon did want David Cameron to win the general election, report concludes
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...