Wu-Tang Clan album sale pays off fraudster Martin Shkreli’s court debt

27 July 2021, 21:54

Wu Tang Clan
RZA Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, Method Man Clifford Smith, Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, Rza, Clifford Smith, Method Man. Picture: PA

The entrepreneur known as Pharma Bro once boasted that he paid 2 million dollars in 2015 at auction for Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.

An unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album forfeited by Martin Shkreli after his securities fraud conviction has been sold for an undisclosed sum, and prosecutors say it was enough to pay off the rest of what he owed on a 7.4 million dollar (£5.3 million) forfeiture order he faced after his 2018 sentencing.

The entrepreneur known as Pharma Bro once boasted that he paid 2 million dollars in 2015 at auction for Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, a 31-track double album the Wu-Tang Clan spent six years creating.

“With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” acting US attorney Jacquelyn M Kasulis said.

Authorities said the sales contract for the album contained a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price.

Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli (Susan Walsh/AP)

In a civil case in Manhattan federal court, lawyers wrote in an April document that Shkreli had already reduced his forfeiture debt by about 5 million dollars.

Lawyer Benjamin Brafman, who represented Shkreli, said he could not comment because of the confidentiality order. He would only confirm that the entire forfeiture amount has been paid.

Shkreli, 38, is scheduled for release in October 2022 after serving a seven-year prison sentence.

He was prosecuted after he gained fame in 2015 when he boosted by 5,000% the price of Daraprim, a previously cheap drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal to people with the Aids virus or other immune-system disorders.

Shkreli’s purchase of the Wu-Tang Clan album came as group member RZA said he wanted the album — packaged in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case which includes a 174-page book wrapped in leather — to be viewed as a piece of contemporary art.

At sentencing, Shkreli also claimed to own an unreleased Lil Wayne album, Tha Carter V.

In its debut week in 2008, the rapper’s Tha Carter III sold more than a million copies and helped launch Lil Wayne to superstar status.

In 2017, Shkreli was convicted of lying to investors and cheating them out of millions of dollars in two failed hedge funds he operated.

Mr Brafman described him at sentencing as a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make his defrauded investors even wealthier.

By Press Association