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Owners of Pharma Bro's Wu-Tang Album Revealed

The collective PleasrDAO created an NFT as part of the complex deal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2021 6:00 PM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2021 1:02 PM CDT
Feds Sell Pharma Bro's Prized Wu-Tang Album
This Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 photo shows Martin Shkreli following his appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform,   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) Update: We now know where Martin Shkreli's prized Wu-Tang album landed. The collective PleasrDAO took ownership of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" in early September, in what the New York Times calls a "complex" $4 million deal involving the creation of an NFT through which the collective's 74 members share ownership of the deed to the album. The paper describes the fledgling collective as having "already built a reputation for acquiring high-profile digital works." The album is being held in a New York City vault, and the collective says its goal is to get the music to fans' ears, possibly via listening parties or by somehow increasing the number of deed owners—if PleasrDAO can get out of Wu-Tang's stipulation it not be released to the public until 2103. Our article from July 27 follows:

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"Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli is serving a seven-year sentence for defrauding investors—and his prized one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album won't be waiting for him when he gets out. The government has sold the "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" album, three years after it was forfeited as part of Shkreli's conviction, CNBC reports. Prosecutors declined to disclose the buyer or the sale price, but they said the sale had completed Shkreli's payment of a $7.4 million forfeiture judgment. Shkreli attorney Benjamin Branfman said the sale price was "substantially more than what Mr. Shkreli paid for it." No other physical or digital copies of the album are known to exist.

"Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself," said Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, per NPR. "With today's sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete." Shkreli paid a reported $2 million for the 31-track album in a 2015 auction. The Wu-Tang Clan later dissed Shkreli in a song and Wu-Tang member RZA said a "significant portion" of the album sale proceeds had been donated to charity. (Last year, a judge rejected Shkreli's "delusional" request to be released so he could study COVID-19.)

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