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US Authorities Sell Wu-Tang Clan Album Once Owned by Martin Shkreli

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US Authorities Sell Wu-Tang Clan Album Once Owned by Martin Shkreli

The US government has sold a unique Wu-Tang Clan album that used to belong to disgraced drug boss Martin Shkreli.

Once dubbed the 'most hated man in America', Shkreli was convicted in 2017 for defrauding investors, and was ordered to pay a $7.4m forfeiture deal.

Shkreli bought 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' for $2m (£1.4m) in 2015, but was forced to hand it over in 2018.

When he bought the album, it was described as 'both a work of art and an audio artifact'.

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Its sale now means he is financially square with the US government, acting US Attorney Jacquelin Kasulis said in a statement.

The Wu-Tang Clan album cost Martin Shkreli $2m. Credit: US Attorney's Office
The Wu-Tang Clan album cost Martin Shkreli $2m. Credit: US Attorney's Office

However, it is not known who bought the piece of art or for how much.

Ms Kasulis said: "Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself.

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"With today's sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete."

Speaking to CNBC, Shkreli's lawyer claimed the sale price was 'substantially more' than what his client had originally paid for it.

Peter Scoolidge, a New York lawyer who represented the unknown buyer, said: "This was the most interesting deal I have ever worked on."

The convicted fraudster was forced to hand over the album back in 2018. Credit: PA
The convicted fraudster was forced to hand over the album back in 2018. Credit: PA
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The album includes a hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity.

It is also subject to various restrictions, including any duplication of its sound recordings.

In September 2017, just a few weeks after having been convicted but before the district court-imposed forfeiture ruling, Shkreli tried to sell the album via an online auction.

Shkreli was the founder of hedge funds MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP and was the former CEO of Retrophin Inc. a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company.

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Wu-Tang Clan. Credit: PA
Wu-Tang Clan. Credit: PA

However, following a six-week trial in federal court in August 2017, Shkreli was convicted of two counts of securities fraud and one count of securities fraud conspiracy for orchestrating a series of schemes to defraud investors in the hedge funds and to manipulate the price and trading volume of Retrophin's stock.

He was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison, which was to be followed by three years of supervised release.

He was also ordered to pay the Forfeiture Money Judgment, approximately $388,000 ($279,515) in restitution and a $75,000 (£54,030) fine.

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As part of the Forfeiture Judgment, Judge Matsumoto also ordered Shkreli to forfeit the album and other substitute assets.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: US Politics, US News, Fraud, Politics, court

Dominic Smithers
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