But who is ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli?

February 5, 2016

This is Martin Shkreli.

He’s an ex-pharma CEO who became the poster-boy for drug price hikes – and who was busted for fraud in December last year.

In his downtime he likes rap music and a good Twitter battle.

 

Why do people hate him?

Shkreli arguably became one of the most hated men on the Internet in September 2015.

That’s because his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the rights to a life-saving drug and raised its price by 5,000 percent.

The drug was Daraprim, which treats a relatively rare parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. Shkreli decided to raise the per pill price from $13.50 to $750.

This caused uproar, but the 32-year-old exec didn’t seem to mind being notorious.

This is was what he had to say to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about the whole thing: 

 

 

And what does he have to do with Wu-Tang?

Shkreli also made a lot of enemies among Wu-Tang Clan fans when he threw down $2 million for the only copy of their new album — and said he had no plans to listen to it.

Wu-Tang had produced the record ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ as a collectors’ item and put it up for auction.

“Within 10 years, more than half of all rap/hip-hop music will be made exclusively for me. Don’t worry — I will share some of it,” Shkreli boasted on Twitter.

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  (UNITED STATES) - RTR1SJRG

Wu-Tang Clan performs at Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, August 5, 2007. REUTERS/Bill Auth

When Shkreli was arrested for fraud in December of last year, one of the Twittersphere’s main concerns was whether he would be made to hand over the Wu-Tang album as part of the federal prosecution.

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

But the FBI quickly dashed hopes – and almost broke the internet — with a tweet that said: “#Breaking – no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn’t seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.”

Here are some tweets from that day:

 


So why did he get busted for fraud?

The arrest wasn’t anything to do with drug price spikes.

Instead, Shkreli was arrested and charged with running his investment funds and companies almost like a Ponzi scheme.

That means he allegedly used each subsequent company to pay off defrauded investors in the previous company.

Shkreli was charged with securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. The maximum sentence for the top count is 20 years in prison.

The ex-drug CEO has pleaded not guilty, stepped down from Turing and was fired from KaloBios Pharmaceuticals.

On Twitter, the top hashtag and keyword related to his arrest was #Karma.

Martin Shkreli (C), chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs U.S. Federal Court after an arraignment following his being charged in a federal indictment filed in Brooklyn relating to his management of hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc. in New York December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RTX1Z6FK

Martin Shkreli (C), chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs U.S. Federal Court after an arraignment following his being charged in a federal indictment, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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