NEW YORK (AFP) – The sole edition of Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin was sold by the US government on Tuesday (July 27) three years after prosecutors seized it from a disgraced former pharmaceutical executive.
The Justice Department’s office in New York announced the sale in a statement but said it could not disclose the price or the buyer, citing a confidentiality clause.
Prosecutors took ownership of the album in 2018 from “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli after a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison for defrauding investors.
Shkreli, who once led Turing Pharmaceuticals, was dubbed “The Most Hated Man in America” for ratcheting up the price of HIV drug Daraprim by 5,000 per cent in 2015.
The judge also ordered that Shkreli pay back US$7.36 million to federal authorities, an amount they could recover by seizing his assets, including the hip-hop album.
“With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” said Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis.
Shkreli had purchased Once Upon A Time In Shaolin at auction in 2015 for US$2 million.
He tried to sell it on eBay for US$1 million in September 2017, a month after his conviction, but he was already in jail by then and the deal never happened.
The 31-track single-edition album was produced in secret over six years from 2007 to 2013 before being sold to Shkreli.
It includes a hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity.
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