December 11, 2006

Sex.com – the story continues

by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

The story of the battle over Sex.com continues.

The domain was originally registered by Gary Kremen in 1994. However, in 1995, Stephen Michael Cohen hacked the computer system for domain registrations, moved it to himself, and then proceeded to make millions each year from the sale.

Kremen was only finally able to get it awarded back to himself in 2001 – whereupon Cohen ran off to Mexico, before being dragged back to the US in 2005.

However, now the situation is that although Cohen was ordered to pay $65 million to Kremen, nothing has been paid.

In fact, remarkably, Cohen says he’s suffered amnesia and can’t remember where he put the cash. Aside from the fact it’s distributed among shell companies and bank accounts around the world.

Unable to hold him punitively for contempt, Cohen has now been released by US court authorities, in order to locate the money – and ordered to return to a court hearing in the US on February 26th to hand the $65 million over.

Coincidentally, on the day of Cohen’s release, his Mexican lawyer – possibly the only other man alive who may know where some of it is stashed – survived an assassination attempt.

Meanwhile, Kremen has sold up from Sex.com to recover his $65 million – but whether Cohen has memory enough left to remember to return to hand it over remains an unwritten chapter in an otherwise remarkable story.

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