Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Album, Picasso Eyed for Forfeiture

Martin Shkreli, left, talks with reporters while standing next to his attorney Benjamin Brafman after leaving federal court in New York on Aug. 4, 2017. The former pharmaceutical CEO has been convicted on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds. A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on Friday on three of eight counts. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – A Picasso and the only known copy of a secret Wu-Tung Clan album are among the assets demanded Thursday by federal prosecutors, estimating that Martin Shkreli’s securities fraud earned him more than $7.3 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Kedeshian calls the figure a “conservative computation” of the amount Shkreli should be made to forfeit after he was found guilty in August of three counts.

A 34-year-old pharmaceutical executive who is best known for jacking the price of life-saving AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent in 2015, Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.

Because of bizarre threats against Hillary Clinton, posted to Facebook after his conviction, Shkreli has been awaiting his sentencing date in the custody of Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.

Like his threats against Clinton and gleeful price hiking of life-saving medications, Shkreli’s ownership of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” has been a sideshow of his criminal case.

When the RZA and fellow Wu-Tang member Tarik Azzougarh consigned the only copy of the album for auction, they made it a condition that whoever bought the album could not distribute it commercially for 88 years.

Shkreli paid about $2 million for the album in 2015. As noted in an unrelated lawsuit, the album included a leather-bound book featuring drawings of Wu-Tang Clan’s nine members.

Prosecutors note that their diligent efforts to locate Shkreli’s assets have not borne much fruit.

“Now that Shkreli has been convicted, substitute assets of his have been located and should be applied to partially satisfy the forfeiture money judgment,” the government said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.

In addition to the Wu-Tang Clan album, other substitute assets being eyed by the government include “The Carter V,” a years-delayed and still-unreleased album by Lil Wayne.

Shkreli spent months last year, in the lead-up to his criminal trial, in a strange game of cat-and-mouse with Lil Wayne to acquire the album.

Prosecutors say Shkreli’s assets subject to forfeiture also include an Enigma code-breaking machine from World War II and an unspecified Picasso.

Shkreli’s interest in Daraprim maker Turing Pharmaceuticals should also be forfeited, as should the $5 million put up as bond in an E-Trade brokerage account, according to the letter.

Docket records show that Shkreli’s attorney Benjamin Brafman has until Dec. 18 to file a response to the government’s request.

Embattled former film executive Harvey Weinstein hired Brafman in November to defend him against a rising tide of sexual-harassment claims.

The forfeiture demand comes in what are possibly the last days of a trial for Shkreli’s former lawyer, Evan Greebel, who prosecutors say conspired with Shkreli in the securities fraud.

Greebel’s defense hinges on casting the lawyer as an unwitting pawn of Shkreli’s machinations. Several of Shkreli’s former investors have testified in the trial. Matsumoto is presiding.

Greebel’s trial took Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off this week and should resume Monday.

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