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Feds sell one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album forfeited by ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli

A one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that had been owned by jailed pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been sold by the federal government as part of civil forfeiture agreement he reached when he was convicted in 2017.

Details of the sale — including the identity of the buyer and the purchase price — were not disclosed. Shkreli had reportedly paid $2 million for the album, “Once Upon a Time in Sholin,” which the seminal rap group released in 2015. It is the only existing  copy of the recording.

The proceeds of the sale will go to satisfy the $7.4 million forfeiture agreement Shkreli reached when he was convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney for New York’s Eastern District.

“With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” said acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis.


‘With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.’


— Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis

Shkreli is serving a seven-year prison sentence for a securities-fraud conviction related to hedge funds he ran before getting into the pharmaceuticals industry in the early 2010s. 

He became infamous in 2015 for engineering a huge price hike for a long-existing medication for a sometimes life-threatening parasitic infection, earning the moniker, the “Pharma Bro.”

The album had been secretly produced by the New York rap group over several years and only one copy was released when it was sold in 2015. At the time, the group described the album as  “both a work of art and an audio artifact.” 

The album came in a hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity.  The sale of the album at auction included various restrictions that specified that no copies could be made or sold for 88 years after its release.

The Wu-Tang Clan has for years demanded the return of the work. Messages left with representatives of the group weren;t immediately returned.

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