Martin Shkreli to Keep ‘Low-Dollar Picasso’ After Wu-Tang Album Sale Covers Debts
(Bloomberg) -- Jailed fund manager Martin Shkreli may get to keep his “low-dollar Picasso” engraving and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter V” album, as court records show he’s already paid off the almost $7.4 million he was ordered to pay the government as a result of his 2017 conviction.
Shkreli, who is serving a seven-year sentence for securities fraud committed while running two hedge funds, had repaid about $5.12 million as of early April through asset sales, records show. Last month, prosecutors said the remaining $2.24 million was satisfied after the sale of the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
In 2015, Shkreli paid $2 million for the album, which came with a handmade nickel-silver box and a leather-bound book with lyrics and a certificate of authenticity. At the time, it was promoted as a unique work of art with no digital or physical duplicate in existence. RZA, the rapper and de facto leader of Wu-Tang Clan, told Bloomberg in 2016 the group “decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.” Shkreli bragged it was “the most expensive album in the history of mankind.”
In its court filing, the government said it hadn’t seized Shkreli’s Lil Wayne album and will “review its options” about his Picasso engraving, including the possibility of returning it to him.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ordered Shkreli to turn over his shares in Phoenixus AG to a Pennsylvania doctor who’d won a judgment for unpaid consulting services. The company is what remains of Turning Pharmaceuticals AG, which Shkreli founded in 2011 after his hedge fund imploded. Nathan also appointed a receiver to sell the stock.
Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, and John Marzulli, a spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis, declined to comment.
Other Shkreli assets, including an Enigma coding machine used by Nazis in World War II and letters by Charles Darwin, were seized in 2018 by New York state authorities and sold at auction to cover his tax liabilities.
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