Where there’s a Wu, there’s a way for the U.S. government, which has just sold the only copy ever made of a Wu-Tang Clan album.
The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it had sold a one-of-a-kind recording of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” previously owned by disgraced “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli.
The DOJ did not release the name of the buyer or the amount paid because of a confidentiality provision in the contract.
Proceeds from the sale will be applied to satisfy the $7.4 million owed on a forfeiture money judgment entered against Shkreli at his March 2018 sentencing for securities fraud.
He is currently serving a seven-year sentence after being found guilty of defrauding investors in two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, by sending them fake account statements and concealing huge losses, according to Reuters.
He was also convicted of scheming to prop up the stock price of his drug company Retrophin.
The seminal hip-hop collective made “Shaolin” in 2014 and announced it would release only one copy of the 31-track album. Founding member Robert “RZA” Diggs told Forbes in 2014 the uniqueness of the recording was “like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
Shkreli purchased the album’s only copy for $2 million in 2015 and then didn’t let anyone hear it at first, saying that he bought it to “keep it from the people.”
In November 2016, he shared a few sample tracks to celebrate Donald Trump’s election victory.
The album’s sale was agreed to before Shkreli hiked up the price of the drug Daraprim from $13 a pill to over $700.
Once the Clan learned Shkreli bought the album, it donated a “significant portion” of the proceeds to charity, according to Collider.
Although Shkreli tried to sell the album on eBay for over $1 million, legal troubles prevented the sale’s completion.
RZA reportedly attempted to buy back the album himself, but the terms of the original deal prohibited him from doing so.
Collider reported that “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” can’t be commercially exploited until 2103, which will probably affect the soundtrack of an upcoming Netflix film about the sale of the album.
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