Judge orders Martin Shkreli to hand over Wu-Tang Clan album

'Pharma Bro' is being told to forfeit a total $7.36m - he bought the Wu-Tang album for $2m in 2016

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
@Roisin_OConnor
Tuesday 06 March 2018 09:48
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'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli
'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli is reportedly being forced by a federal court to hand over the only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by the Wu-Tang Clan.

Shkreli, the notorious pharmaceuticals CEO who earned the nickname "Pharma Bro" for hiking the price of an HIV treatment, was convicted of securities fraud in 2017.

A judge ruled on 5 March that Shkreli has to forfeit $7.36m, part of which will come from assets such as a Picasso painting and the Lil' Wayne album The Carter V, according to The Verge.

Also among these assets is the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan's album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which Shkreli bought for $2m in 2016, making it the most expensive single album ever sold. At the time, Wu-Tang explained they wanted to see the "value" put back into music.

Only one copy exists, and is kept in a silver and nickel-plated box with a leather-bound book which features 174 pages of liner notes. By the terms of the sale, the person who owns Once Upon a Time In Shaolin can legally do whatever they like with it - apart from release it commercially until the 88-year band has lifted.

Speaking to The Independent last year, Wu-Tang co-founder RZA said he was "pissed off" after Shkreli appeared to try and sell the album on eBay.

"I panicked when he did that, I felt disrespected by it," he said. "I said, why the f**k would he do that? Then I read his little paragraph and I calmed down. Because even if someone had put down one dollar, it would have proved I was wrong. But it went over a million (dollars). At that, I'm satisfied to know that the idea worked."

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