U.S. Government Sells Special Edition Wu-Tang Album Previously Purchased For $2M Through Auction By Pharma Fraudster

The U.S. Government has sold a one-of-a-kind, special edition Wu-Tang album that was previously owned by “pharma bro” fraudster Martin Shkreli to satisfy a forfeiture judgment worth millions against him.

Entitled “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin,” the album has been a coveted cultural enigma since Wu-Tang producer RZA first announced the iconic hip-hop group would release a sole copy of the album which was recorded over a 6-year period from 2008 through 2014. The single-copy was pressed in 2014 and secured in a vault at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco until it was auctioned off the following year.

Shkreli purchased the special edition album in 2015 for a reported $2 million. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to sell it in an online auction in 2017 weeks after his trial concluded.

Shkreli, 38, was forced to forfeit the album, along with other valuable artifacts, after he was convicted of securities fraud in 2017, CNBC reported. He is currently serving a seven-year sentence and is due to be released in 2022.

It was sold to an anonymous buyer on Tuesday. July 27, but the price and identity of the buyer were kept anonymous due to a confidentiality provision in the contract. The buyer’s attorney, Peter Scoolidge, told CNBC “This was the most interesting deal I have ever worked on.”

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Although the amount the album sold for is undisclosed, Shkreli’s trial lawyer Benjamin Brafman confirmed in an email to CNBC the proceeds were enough to satisfy the forfeiture balance. “I can also confirm that the sale price was substantially more than what Mr. Shkreli paid for it,” Brafman wrote.

Brafman’s words were echoed by acting U.S. attorney for Brooklyn Jacquelyn Kasulis. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” Kasulis said.

News of the album’s sale has gone viral on social media with fans asking the anonymous buyer to release the album, which RZA called “the Mona Lisa” of Wu-Tang albums, to the public.

“I am sad to announce that I am not the new owner of the 1-of-1 Wu-Tang Clan album ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’,” Twitter user @evankaloudis wrote. “Whoever did should release it to the public. Wu-Tang is for the children.”

“Once Upon a Time in Shaolin should be donated to a library system because as our followers know, Wu-Tang is for the Libraries. #WuTangForever,” @JCLS_tweets chimed in. “Aye, whoever bought Once Upon A Time in Shaolin… Imma need you to drop that ish,” @JJDbadboy tweeted.

“WHAT. Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin should have been considered publicly-owned property and the government should’ve uploaded this album somewhere for public use. I’m dead serious. I’m also dead,” @AustinMcCoy3 wrote.

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