U.S. Prosecutors Might Seize Shkreli's Wu-Tang Album

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If federal prosecutors have their way, Martin Shkreli might have to surrender "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," the Wu-Tang Clan album for which he paid $2 million. Shkreli owns the only known copy in existence.

Prosecutors announced their request on Dec. 1, reports Reuters. In court filings, they asked for Shkreli to surrender a total of $7.4 million in assets, including the album, a Picasso painting, and his shares in Turing Pharmaceuticals and the World War II code-breaking Enigma machine, reports CNBC.

This comes in response to Shkreli's August conviction on two counts of securities fraud and one of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He was found not guilty on five related counts.

"[The sum] represents a conservative computation of the proceeds Shkreli personally obtained as a result of his three different securities fraud crimes of conviction," the prosecutors wrote in a letter to a judge on Nov. 30.

Shkreli, who is widely known for hiking the price of Daraprim, a medication often used to treat HIV/AIDS, reportedly obtained millions of dollars while committing securities fraud. As such, prosecutors said he should "forfeit those funds he would not have had but for his criminal offenses."

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"These funds were, in essence, the life blood that fueled the fraud scheme," the prosecutors wrote. An estimated $3 million of the money connected to his conspiracy to commit securities fraud conviction came from the MSMB Capital hedge fund, another $3.4 million from MSMB Healthcare, and another $960,000 from biotech company Retrophin.

Shkreli's lawyer Ben Brafman vowed to "vigorously oppose the government motion" and said that his client repaid his investors more money than they gave him in the first place.

"Our position is clear," Brafman explained in a statement issued on Dec. 1. "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."

Shkreli is set to be sentenced on Jan. 16.

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After buying the single-release album from the legendary New York hip-hop group and agreeing at the time not to release it commercially for at least 88 years, the infamous businessman entered into a feud with Wu Tang's Ghostface Killah, who called Shkreli a "s**thead" when he learned who had purchased the record, according to Consequence of Sound.

In return, Shkreli, flanked by people in masks, recorded a video in which he threatened to erase all of Ghostface's tracks from the album.

"You're an old man -- an old man that’s lost his relevance, and you're trying to claim the spotlight from my spotlight," Shkreli said in the video, notes Consequence of Sound.

Ghostface, who titled the dispute "Ghost vs. Peter Pan," responded by calling Shkreli "the man with the 12-year-old body," a "real killer, a soft killer" and a "baby." Meanwhile, his family members issued an emotional plea to Shkreli to stop the price hikes for medically necessary drugs.

Sources: CNBC, Consequence of Sound / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: OversightandReform/FlickrDerzsi Elekes Andor/Wikimedia Commons

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