Shkreli Sues From Prison Over Retrophin Ouster

Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is escorted by law enforcement agents in New York on Dec. 17, 2015, after being taken into custody following a securities probe. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

MANHATTAN (CN) – Complaining about his ouster from a company he defrauded of millions, fallen pharmaceutical CEO and troll extraordinaire Martin Shkreli filed suit from prison Friday against former fellow executives.

“After starting a biopharmaceutical company from scratch and turning it into a successful enterprise worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Mr. Shkreli was unceremoniously and illegally ousted from the company at the hands of defendants,” the 62-page federal complaint states.

Signed by attorney Edward Kang, the lawsuit accuses erstwhile Retrophin associates Stephen Aselage, Margaret Valeur-Jensen and Gary Lyons of fraud and aiding and abetting fraud.

“Defendants, who had little to do with the success of the company but were instead driven by their egos, jealousy, and greed, were successful in only one thing: creating and carrying out a scheme to oust Mr. Shkreli from the company for their selfish benefit,” the complaint states.

The legal action is the latest act of brash defiance from Shkreli, who enraged much of the nation — and became a cult hero among hardline libertarians — for jacking up the price of the lifesaving AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.

Incarcerated since early 2018 at a low-security federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, the 36-year-old now claims Retrophin is poorer without his stewardship.

“Despite the company’s commercial success, its vision that was Mr. Shkreli’s is gone,” the complaint states. “The company is worse off now than it would have been had Mr. Shkreli remained as the leader of the company, as evidenced by the company’s continuing to feed off the assets created and acquired by Mr. Shkreli during his tenure.”

Roughly three years have passed since Shkreli smirked his way through congressional proceedings about the act of price gouging, before gleefully tweeting his contempt for the “imbeciles” questioning him. 

Federal prosecution followed Shkreli’s adventures in Congress, not for the Daraprim prices, but for what prosecutors called a “Ponzi-like.” After a trial, Shkreli was convicted of looting $11 million from Retrophin to prop up his failing hedge funds.

Shkreli’s new lawsuit accuses his former colleagues of defrauding him by inducing him to negotiate “good faith” — his scare quotes — terms for departing the company by signing a document stating he had been “resigning voluntarily” for no consideration.

“Defendants’ fraudulent conduct was not authorized by the board,” the complaint states. “Defendants, Aselage and Valeur-Jensen in particular, made millions of dollars by successfully carrying out their illegal scheme and reaping what Mr. Shkreli sowed.”

Retrophin did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. A judge has not yet been assigned to the lawsuit.  

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