UPDATE: Hated Pharma Exec Who Bought Wu-Tang’s Shaolin Album for $2 Million Busted by the FBI on Fraud Charges

[NOTE: There have been developments in the arrest of Martin Shkreli, the owner of the one-and-only copy of the Wu Tang clan album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. This situation is way too ridiculous to ignore, so I’ll follow the story as long as it maintains its entertainment value. – AC]

Martin Shkreli is not a popular man. The pharmaceutical company executive who hiked the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000% because it was the “right thing” to do for shareholders, already owned one of Kurt Cobain’s last credit cards when he dropped $2 million on Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.  Wu-Tang have been trying to distance themselves from the sale ever since (Shkreli bought the album before the shit hit the fan about his drug price gouging.)

Early Thursday (December 17) morning, the FBI swooped in on Shkreli in Manhattan and arrested him on charges of securities fraud. He’s been charge for wrongfully and illegally taking stock from a biotech company he started. It’s alleged he use that to pay off the debts of a hedge fund company he used to run.

Just in case you were wondering, Shkreli’s arrest was not accompanied by a seizure warrant. Pamela Chelin sent me this tweet that explains why that’s a big deal.

No Wu Tang copy

HOWEVER, think about this: If Shaolin was purchased with funds found to be obtained illegally, then what happens to it? Does it get entered to evidence? Does it become state property? Will Shkreli have to sell it to pay for his legal defence. If he’s found guilty, what becomes of it?

UPDATE 1: According to several reports (including this one), the feds would be will within their rights to seize the Wu-Tang album.

UPDATE 2: Amber Healy, investigative reporter for sister website, Geek&Beats, found this Freedom of Information Request.

FOIA request for Shaolin copy

UPDATE 3: This isn’t true, but it’s funny: “Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Per Cent.”

UPDATE 4: Shkreli has resigned from his pharmaceutical company.

Read more at TMZBloomberg and The Daily Beast.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.