Feds Order Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli To Forfeit One-Of-A-Kind Wu-Tang Clan Album
"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli has to surrender his ultra-rare copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album reportedly worth around $2 million.
The notorious businessman, who earned the ire of the world after raising the price of a drug by more than 5,000 percent, has been convicted of securities fraud last year. Though he is yet to be sentenced, a judge ruled on Monday, March 5, that Shkreli must forfeit $7.36 million to the federal government.
Since Shkreli has reportedly been cash-broke since last year, he has to surrender a set of "substitute" assets that include $5 million in cash in an E-Trade brokerage account, his stake in the drug company Vyera Pharmaceuticals, the Lil' Wayne album The Carter V, a painting by Pablo Picasso, and his Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin.
The Legend Of The Rare Wu-Tang Album
Shkreli has been bragging about his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album since he made the purchase in 2015. The story goes like this: years ago, the renowned rap group recorded a new album featuring new original songs. However, the plan was to produce only one copy of the album and sell it to one fan who would agree not to release the material commercially for almost a century.
Wu-Tang wanted to create a work of art that would have a lasting impact, a direct response to the disposability and accessibility of contemporary music at the time of online streaming.
"The idea was to imbue the album with the importance of a painting by a Renaissance master," explained Cyrus Bozorgmehr, author of Once Upon A Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of Wu-Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy No. 1.
Selling the album to Shkreli, who eventually became one of the most hated men in America and the face of corporate greed, was a mistake, the Wu-Tang Clan eventually realized. The businessman used the album to alleviate his bad boy image and has publicly taunted Wu-Tang mastermind RZA when the latter expressed dismay over his business practices. He also offered to release the entire album for free if Donald Trump wins the presidency (Shkreli posted snippets of the album on YouTube) and said he will be willing to play the album for Taylor Swift in exchange of sexual favors.
"Martin went nuts with his idea of public theater," said Bozorgmehr. "He would get in touch with us privately and say, 'I've just been abusive to RZA in an interview. Isn't that great?' And we're going, 'No!'"
Shkreli, last year, claimed that he already sold the album in September, but no buyer has stepped forward. His lawyer also once commented that the album is "probably worthless," revealed CNBC.
The Verge added that the album will probably be included in an auction alongside the other properties that the government seized and will be sold to the highest bidder.