Back in 2015, disgraced “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli purchased the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan‘s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million. In March 2018, after Shkreli had been charged and convicted on securities fraud charges the previous year, a federal court seized multiple assets that belonged to – one of which was the album.
Now, the United States Government has sold that copy to an undisclosed buyer, for an undisclosed sum. The proceeds of the sale will go towards paying back Shkreli’s $7.36 million forfeiture judgement from back in 2018. Pitchfork reports that, with the sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, that judgement has now been fulfilled.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself,” commented Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.”
While the mystery buyer remains unknown, it’s not the first time its owners have tried to find a new home for it. Shkreli actually attempted to sell it himself on eBay in September 2017, with a winning bid of over $1 million, but his incarceration prevented the sale from going through.
Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA had also attempted to purchase the album himself, but was contractually prevented. He and the rest of the hip-hop collective distanced themselves from Shkreli following the album’s sale, saying it was agreed upon prior to Shkreli’s controversial price increase of the drug Daraprim. The group reportedly donated a large portion of the proceeds to charity as a result.
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