Martin Shkreli didn’t have long to enjoy his new $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album — if he ever listened to it at all.
The pharmaceutical provocateur was arrested for securities fraud in Manhattan this morning, just a little over a week after news broke that he had purchased the only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin…, billed as a “pioneering work-of-art, rather than an album.”
According to Bloomberg Business, federal prosecutors have accused Shkreli of taking stock from his biotechnology company Retrophin Inc. and using it to pay debts for his inoperative hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management. It’s the fairly boring stuff of white-collar crime, and not entirely surprising coming from someone who’s become a public villain of sorts in the last few months.
Shkreli inspired outrage in September, when news broke that his company Turing Pharmaceuticals AG had raised the per-pill cost of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750. The life-saving drug is commonly used to treat cancer, HIV, and other illnesses. Bernie Sanders’s campaign subsequently called him a “poster boy for drug company greed.” But Shkreli has somehow maintained a clear conscience:
I like to stir the pot, but I would never, ever price a drug beyond a sick person’s reach.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 16, 2015
What’s more, Shkreli seemed to think of the price hike as art. He told Hip Hop DX, “To me, what I’m doing right now in the media, raising prices, all this shit, believe what you want, but it’s interesting,” he said. “It gets people talking. At the end of the day, that’s what art is.”
If that were true, it would make artists out of everyone from Donald Trump to ISIS. Fortunately, Shkreli’s arrest might put the brakes on any other artistic endeavors he’s planning, not to mention his desire to become rap’s next big mogul.
Within 10 years, more than half of all rap/hip-hop music will be made exclusively for me. Don’t worry–I will share some of it.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 13, 2015
The FBI’s New York office announced on Twitter that it didn’t have a seizure warrant when it arrested Shkreli, so the Wu-Tang album is still in his possession. Which begs the question: if you have the only copy of a $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album and you’re stuck without it in prison, does it make a sound?