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Wu-Tang Clan Album Once Owned By Martin Shkreli Sold By U.S. Government

The United States has sold the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin to an anonymous buyer. The price of the sale was also kept confidential.

The album was previously owned by Martin Shkreli, the infamous "Pharma Bro" who raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percentand was later convicted of securities fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison. He was forced to hand it over to the United States in 2018 as a part of a $7.4 million forfeiture judgement.

The announcement was made today by Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself," said Kasulis. "With today's sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete."

Shkreli purchased the 31-track album at auction in 2015 for a reported $2 million. It was promoted as a "unique work of art" with no physical or digital duplicate in existence, and included appearances from the wider Wu-Tang family from Redman to Killarmy. Upon learning that it was Shkreli who bought the album, Wu-Tang member RZA told Bloomberg that the group decided to give "a significant portion of the proceeds to charity."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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