Kremen on ‘Wait and See What Happens’

SAN FRANCISCO — As both mainstream and trade press scramble to cover the arrest of Stephen Cohen today, owner Gary Kremen told XBiz he is calm, maintaining a wait-and-see attitude despite his outstanding $65 million judgment against Cohen for the theft of the famed web address.

As Cohen sits in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego, where he is being held without bail, Kremen can’t help but wonder what Cohen might do to avoid a potentially lengthy prison term.

Ratting out fellow industry players tops Kremen’s list of possibilities.

“[Cohen] knows a lot of early industry players in the adult world,” Kremen told XBiz. “Maybe he is going to do some rolling over on them with some of the stuff he knows. You know, tell the authorities which big players didn’t pay taxes and stuff like that. When you are in jail, you probably would do anything not to stay there.”

Cohen currently is ordered to remain in jail until he returns $25 million to the government, which a federal judge ruled in 2001 was illegally transferred outside the country. He could also face a host of other charges, from tax evasion to perjury, not even counting Kremen’s judgment, which has ballooned to $82 million with interest.

“There’s 10 percent statutory interest in the case,” Kremen said. “Which, you know, is good for me.”

Despite the arrest, Kremen admits there isn’t much he can do aside from waiting things out. Whether or not there will be any money left in Cohen’s pot once the government is through with him remains to be seen.

“I think I am ahead of some of [the people Cohen owes] but not everyone,” Cohen said. “I don’t know. It is going to be really interesting to see what happens. Maybe the judge will change his mind; maybe Cohen is going to do some rolling over. Who knows?

“All I can do is play it by ear and just sit tight and hang out for a little while,” he said.