Martin Shkreli May Be Forced To Give U.S. Government $2M Wu-Tang Clan Album

Disgraced 'pharma-bro' Martin Shkreli may be forced to hand over the only existing copy of Wu-Tang Clan's album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to federal authorities in the U.S.

Prosecutors are looking to seize $7.4 million (£5.5m) in assets from Shkreli, who acted as a pharmaceutical executive and hedge-fund manager before he was convicted of securities fraud earlier this year.

Other assets prosecutors have asked a court judge to seize from Shkreli along with the Wu-Tang Clan record include Lil Wayne's unreleased record, Tha Carter V, and a World War II Enigma machine.

The Wu-Tang Clan. Credit: PA

Shkreli bought Once Upon A Time In Shaolin from the Wu-Tang Clan after placing a $2m (£1.5m) bid for the album through the auction house Paddle8 in 2015. The LP has now been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive album in existence.

Shkreli's purchase of the album has caused controversy among music fans, particularly after he taunted them by live-streaming short excerpts of the album to YouTube from his Manhattan apartment.

The album cannot be commercially released until 2103, although it can be released for free or played during listening parties.

Shkreli's lawyer said they would "vigorously oppose the government motion" in a statement to Bloomberg.

"Our position is clear," the lawyer said. "None of the investors lost any money and Martin did not personally benefit from any of the counts of conviction. Accordingly, forfeiture of any assets is not an appropriate remedy."

Wu-Tang founder RZA recently told The Independent that he hoped the album would one day be toured around the world for fans to finally hear, saying: "People could come to museums and hear it."

"I tried to tell Martin that would be the smartest thing to do with it," he said. "I almost didn't wanna sell it. I thought that would be the most beautiful thing that could happen to it. I hope that will still happen."

Credit: PA

Shkreli's life has changed dramatically in recent months as he has been forced to deal with the consequences of his conviction.

He was previously CEO of the biotechnology firm Retrophin and of his own firm Turing Pharmaceuticals with a net worth of around $70 million (£52m) in June of this year.

In September 2015, he received heavy criticism after Turing obtained the manufacturing licence for the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim, raising its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Shkreli is currently serving out jail time in the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn until January 16, 2018 when his ultimate sentence will be determined.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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