Martin Shkreli, the man who bought the only copy of Wu Tang Clan‘s album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’, has commented on his recent arrest for stock fraud after resigning from Turing Pharmaceuticals.
Shkreli recently made headlines by buying the rights to life-saving drug Daraprim and increasing the cost from $13.50 a pill to $750. He then went on to purchase Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ double album, of which just one copy exists, for $2 million (£1.3 million).
Shkreli was charged with illegally taking stock from his biotechnology firm Retrophin Inc and using it to pay debts from other, unrelated business dealings. Shkreli would face up to 20 years in jail if convicted on all charges.
Shkreli has now tweeted a response to the charges, stating that he is “confident” that he will “prevail”, while calling the allegations “baseless and without merit”.
Following Shkreli’s arrest at his Manhattan home, the FBI tweeted to confirm that they had not seized the Wu-Tang Clan album during the arrest.
#Breaking no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn't seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) December 17, 2015
Shkreli pleaded not guilty at federal court in Brooklyn to seven counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. He was released on bail on a $5m bond, and tweeted to thank his supporters on his arrival at home.
Shkreli also announced his resignation as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
Turing has appointed its chairman Ron Tilles as interim CEO and said in a statement, “We wish to thank Martin Shkreli for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research-focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Robert Capers, attorney of the eastern district of New York, said Shkreli had cost investors more than $11m with a Ponzi scheme. He said Shkreli was using his previous pharmaceutical company Retrophin as “personal piggybank”.
He said, “The charges announced today describe a securities fraud trifecta of lies, deceit and greed. As charged, Martin Shkreli targeted investors and retained their business by making several misrepresentations and omissions about key facts of the funds he managed.”
In an interview published before his arrest, Shkreli described himself as being “pissed off” by Wu-Tang Clan for “talking shit behind my back”.
The group’s de-facto leader RZA recently hinted that he wouldn’t have sold the album to Shkreli had he known of the Daraprim at the time. “The sale of ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity,” he said in a statement.
RZA’s comments seem to have offended Skhreli, who has told HipHopDX that Wu-Tang are “starting to turn on me”.
“I’m the most successful Albanian to ever walk the face of this Earth,” he claimed. “I bought the album. [There’s a] big fucking check in RZA and Cilvaringz’ pocket now, but [now] they’re starting to turn up on me.”
Skhreli added: “This [Wu-Tang] thing is starting to get pretty tense. You probably see that increasingly. I’m getting pretty frustrated by it. I bought the most expensive album in the history of mankind and fucking RZA is talking shit behind my back and online in plain sight.”
“I’m just getting pissed off. That’s not the way I do business. If I hand you $2 million, fucking show me some respect. At least have the decency to say nothing or ‘no comment.’ The guy says ‘before his business practices came to light.’ What the fuck does that mean? I fucking make money. That’s what I do. That’s why I can fucking afford a fucking $2 million album. What do you think I do, make cookies? No, motherfucker. I sell drugs… I felt insulted.”