Will Martin Shkreli have to hand over his Wu-Tang Clan album?

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:54pm EST
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By Cassandra Garrison

(Reuters) - A news conference announcing federal securities fraud charges against former hedge fund boss Martin Shkreli took an unusual turn on Thursday with a question about a $2 million copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album he bought in May.

Shkreli, 32, had bragged to Bloomberg Businessweek about buying the only copy of the popular New York-based hip-hop collective's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," drawing ire from music fans around the world when he said he had no plans to listen to it. He spent the $2 million to "keep it from people," he said.

Wu-Tang Clan had produced the record as a limited-edition album, which it then put up for auction.  

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Robert Capers told reporters, "We're not aware of where he got the funds that he raised for the Wu-Tang Clan album."

Capers' comments immediately spurred hopeful posts on social media from music lovers that the album might be forfeited by the Turing chief executive officer during his federal prosecution.

Twitter lit up with reaction to the arrest of Shkreli, who is even more reviled for boosting drug prices than he is for hiding the album. Shkreli's critics used the hashtag #Karma to voice their support for the federal prosecution and hope that the Wu-Tang clan album could be heard across the world.

"Dear US attorney: all we want for Christmas is that Wu-Tang album – everyone," wrote Twitter user @cbk_chi.

"If the government seizes the Wu-Tang album, does it run another auction, or just release it for free as part of our cultural patrimony?" asked @Matt_Levine.   Continued...

Wu-Tang Clan performs at Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland August 5, 2007. The two-day concert is now in its second year.  REUTERS/Bill Auth