In an effort to recover $7.3m in forfeitures from the convicted hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical ceo Martin Shkreli, federal prosecutors filed a motion in New York court on Friday (1 December) that says he should be forced to give up, among other valuable assets, a Picasso painting currently in his possession. However, neither the title of the work nor its estimated value were specified in the court filing.
Prosecutors are also asking for the album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Wu-Tang Clan, the only one in existence, which Shkreli purchased for $2m in 2015; a copy of Lil Wayne’s unreleased album, The Carter V; a Nazi Enigma code-breaking machine from World War II; and $5m in cash from an E*Trade brokerage account.
In a December 2015 interview with the online magazine HipHopDx, Shkreli alluded to the Picasso painting. “I’m staring at a Picasso in my living room right now that’s no different from the Wu-Tang box except it’s about 20 times more expensive,” he said.
Shkreli is notorious for raising prices exponentially on the Aids drug Daraprim, and for his unabashed responses to critics, which earned him the nickname “pharma bro”. He was convicted in August of securities fraud and conspiracy after misleading investors in his hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting sentencing and could serve up to 20 years.
Shkreli’s attorney told the Washington Post in a statement that he would oppose the forfeiture claim: “Our position is clear. None of the investors lost any money and Martin did not personally benefit from any of the counts of conviction.”