Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album was sold to an anonymous buyer in the U.S. in exchange for imprisoned pharmaceutical executive and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli’s debt.
Shkreli, the now disgraced pharmaceutical exec, gained notoriety in 2015 after spiking the price of a drug by 5,000% using his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals. The 62-year-old drug, Daraprim, was used to treat a rare parasitic infection. The original cost of the drug was $13.50, when Shrkeli hiked the price up to $750 a tablet.
Shkreli boasted about his controversy, with former president Donald J. Trump likening him to “a spoiled brat.”
At Shkreli’s trial in the Federal District Court of Brooklyn in 2017, he was convicted of three out of eight counts of securities fraud in connection to MSMB Capital, securities fraud in connection with MSMB Healthcare, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud related to the Retrophin stock scheme, where he tried to control a large portion of the stock.
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Shkreli purchased the Wu-Tang Clan’s famous copy of their LP, “The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” at an auction for $2 million.
The 31-track, secretly recorded album was produced by Cilvaringz “under the tutelage” of RZA and was housed in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya.
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“The intrinsic value of music has been reduced to zero,” read the manifesto of the project’s website. “Contemporary art is worth millions by virtue of its exclusivity. The album is a piece of contemporary art.”
The exclusive album was seized by the government in 2018, after a judge ruled that it could be used to pay part of Shkreli’s $7.36 million debt to the government.
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Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sale of the album in a news release. The U.S. government is set to keep the price and the buyer anonymous due to terms of the sale.
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Federal prosecutors did not disclose who the Wu-Tang album was sold to, or for how much.