About that $2 Million Wu-Tang Album: Is It Up for Grabs Again?

If you’ve been following the saga of Martin Shkreli, The Most Hated Man on the Internet™, you may have heard that he’s been fired from another one of his pharmaceutical companies after he was arrested on fraud charges involving one of his financial companies. As SNL described the situation, having both Big Pharma and Big Finance hate you “is like being the lead singer of both Nickelback and Smash Mouth.”

You’ve also no doubt heard that Shkreli was the guy who dropped $2 million on the one-copy-only release by Wu-Tang Clan called Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The question music fans are asking after his arrest is “What becomes of this album?” Valid question.

Authorities allege that Shkreli’s financial fraud was a Ponzi scheme involving $65 million USD. If prosecutors can prove that any of that dirty money was used to buy the album, the Feds could file a forfeiture action and seize it. Even if the album was bought cleanly, there’s still a way Shkreli could lose it

Even if the album was bought cleanly, there’s still a way Shkreli could lose it. If he’s convicted and the judge orders him to pay restitution to his victims, prosecutors would want the album because it’s probably one of the most expensive things he owns. It would be auctioned off to pay the penalty.

The only issue is that under the terms of the sale of the album, Wu-Tang made Shkreli agree that ownership of the album could not be transferred (i.e. sold or given away) for a term of 88 years. Will that complicate things? Or will Wu-Tang waive the condition just to put this embarrassing situation being them?

(Via Tom and TMZ)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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