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Martin Shkreli Wu-Tang Clan album
Via eBay

Martin Shkreli’s $2m Wu-Tang Clan album has been sold by the US government

The US government ain’t nothing ta fuck wit

In 2015, ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli – who infamously hiked the price of a critical Aids drug by 5000 per cent – paid $2 million (£1.4m) for the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. Sadly for Shkreli (AKA the most hated man in America), he was later convicted of fraud and forced to hand the super rare record over to the feds.

Now, the US government has sold the album for an undisclosed sum in order to cover the rest of what Shkreli owed on his $7.4 million (£5.3m) forfeiture order. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” attorney Jacquelyn M Kasulis said in a statement.

As reported by The Guardian, lawyers confirmed in April that Shkreli had paid off approximately $5m (£3.6m) of his forfeiture, meaning the Wu-Tang record may have fetched around $2.4m (£1.7m).

Shkreli controversially bought the one-of-a-kind, engraved silver album in November 2015, with his identity as the buyer revealed the following month – coincidentally, the same month he was arrested on securities and fraud charges.

The pharmaceutical boss and Wu-Tang had a number of disagreements following Shkreli’s purchase of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. After Ghostface Killah called him a “shithead” with a “Michael Jackson nose”, Shkreli made a painfully insane diss track about the rapper. Ghostface Killah then responded with his own 12-minute diss track, featuring his mum, sister, and some enthusiastic Powerpoint skills. 

In November 2016, Shkreli followed through with his promise to share the Wu-Tang album if Donald Trump was elected president, playing the tracks via livestream. He later played a 10-minute snippet of the album after being convicted of fraud in 2017. The following month, he attempted to sell the album on eBay, but was imprisoned before the sale – which reached over $1m – could be completed.

Before Shkreli was forced to forfeit the album, Wu-Tang co-founder RZA tried to buy it back. “The paperwork and the contract stops me from getting it back,” he said at the time. “When (Shkreli) put it on eBay, the first thing I did was call my lawyer, and I was like, ‘Yo, let’s go’. And they said, ‘All right, check with your contract’. And it’s no, you can’t do it. Ain’t that a bitch?”

If it hadn’t been for the feds’ intervention, the contract’s small print would have allowed the record to be stolen from Shkreli in a heist, undertaken only by active members of Wu-Tang and/or… actor Bill Murray. Could it be that the US government hasn’t sold the record, and is simply covering up a heist by Wu-Tang and Murray? Something to think about!