Shkreli Takes Break From Criminal Prosecution, Congressional Investigations, and Civil Lawsuits To Offer To Buy Kanye West Album For $10 Million

Martin Shkreli may be the worst criminal defendant client since John Gotti, who loved to taunt and flaunt while facing criminal charges. After his cocky performance (just reciting the invocation of the right to remain silent) at the House committee this month, most criminal defense attorneys were cringing. Then came his not-so-silent tweets mocking the committee after his appearance. Now, after the IRS hit him with a massive tax bill for unpaid taxes, the former drug company head has offered $10 million to Kanye West for rights to his album The Life of Pablo. This follows his controversial $2 million deal for Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin amidst condemnations of his bilking AIDS victims through over-pricing of life sustaining drugs. Not since Colin Ferguson has a defendant done more to get the court, potential jurors, or anyone on Earth to truly hate him.

As Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli purchased Daraprim, a $13.50 medication indicated for patients requiring treatment of Toxoplasma gondii–an opportunistic pathogen afflicting the immune-compromised such as AIDS patients. He then jacked up the price 5000 percent price so that treatment costs would be over $750 a pill or seventy-five thousand dollars a month. See previous articles HERE and HERE.

One would think that Shkreli would want to conserve his funds. Under the terms of the offer, Kanye would release the album to him and him alone. Still, the IRS says he owes $4.6 million and New York State wants him to pay an additional $2.7 million. On top of that, he is out on $5 million bond. Moreover, much of his fortune is tied up in companies that have filed for bankruptcy. Finally, his penchant for grabbing albums has gone as badly as his career as a pharmaceutical hold up man. He is being sued for $2 million by New York artist Jason Koza over the use of his fan art in the album.

The earlier deal did not appear designed to make money but purely fuel Shkreli’s vanity. The band announced that it would create only one copy of its next album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and sell it to the highest bidder. While the Clan wanted to forbid the buyer from publicly releasing the album for 88 years, it dropped that claim. However, the buyer’s total freedom had one huge limitation — he could not sell it commercially. So Skhreli can listen to it or release it for free on the Internet, but he cannot sell it.

The most recent offer does not seem to have the same limitations, though he better hope that Kanye West does not use the same multiplier that Skhreli uses on life-preserving drugs. Here is the letter that was accompanied by Shkreli’s tweet:


19 thoughts on “Shkreli Takes Break From Criminal Prosecution, Congressional Investigations, and Civil Lawsuits To Offer To Buy Kanye West Album For $10 Million”

  1. I now believe they whole Kayne West Album purchase was a hoax/prank.

    but I stand by his mischief, real or prank, by design or happenstance, narcissism or for the endless craving of attention to expose the corrupt system.

    What ever it takes without physical harm.

  2. Karen S,

    You are completely misguided and thoroughly wrong in your understanding of socialism. Canada, Japan, Britain, Switzerland, and, oh yeah, Germany among others are all doing far better than the U.S. and they are- wait for it- Socialist nations.

    Take the blinders off.

  3. I just read through the comments and frankly Mr Turley, as an avid fan of yours on C-Span, I am surprised by this post and at the lack of research on your part.

    There has not been one person who has suffered due to the price structure of this drug. My understanding is that it is sold to the government for a penny a pop, and that although commercial insurance companies pay more for the drug, full price, it is not out of line with even more needed big pharma drugs, life saving big pharma drugs.

    If you want to argue the price of selling needed drugs for only so much, a cap, to private insurance companies – which we are always told is done to finance R&D – although most drug companies now use those profits for advertisement and to line their stock holder’s pockets (by law), then a change to the laws will remedy the whole industry. Simple.

    However, seems to me no big pharma outlet wants any of that.

    I say lift the veil on this one. We’ve known about the big pharma power structure under Bush and Obama. Let’s be honest, this is something no one in politics or the industry wants, we know the powers that be would rather preserve the system “as is.”

    The question I have then, are you part of the preservation of the “as is” system?

    Cause if the government goes after Mr. Shkreli they will most certainly have to go after every big pharmaceutical CEO.

  4. I love this guy, and on so many levels

    the world is NOTHING like we think or want it to be Martin is ripping a hole in that facade

    I don’t think anyone with his wealth has done more to wake people up

    I think he’s brave a true knight

    IMO he is the anti-hero hero

  5. RE: John, 02/122016, 11:05am

    WHITE collar? How about …

    “Uncaring/unfeeling BLACK collar business man invests in racist thug who wants white people slaughtered.”

    More Corporatocracy at work here! A HOME RUN!

  6. John – would you like to point out just which illegal war we were involved in and how it was illegal?

  7. Dear Martin,

    I can see you are an avid collector of genuine vinyl record albums that no one listens to.

    Well, have I got a deal for you. I happen to have in my possession an original copy of ‘Pete Foutain’s New Orleans’ – I guarantee you no body listens to that.

    Martin, I would consider letting go of this original vinyl album that no one listens to for – not 10 million, not 5 million, not even 1million. Martin you can have this prime, unlistenable, vinyl album for a mere $100,000.

    Let me know soon, Martin. I know there is going to be a lot of interest this one.

    Sincere best wishes from your friend,


  8. Give him a break. If you want socialism then go with Bernie. If you want capitalism then go with this guy. He will not build up some wall. Except his own.

  9. The only way you can have equal condition for all is to lower the bar. And then you create the inevitable government ruling class.

    What a sad, nihilistic existence, is true socialism. Nothing you do will ever improve your condition in life. Nothing you do can improve conditions for your family. Work hard or not at all and produce the same result, so why bother? No meritocracy. No innovation. Come up with a great idea for a business and so what? Who’s going to buy art when everyone is eking by? How much art has France produced since it dove into socialism? It’s era of creative brilliance is bygone, in museums. And how did confiscatory taxes work out in Cypress, where the government raided peoples savings? Or Greece, where the entire population is so dependent on government and running out of money that the merest attempt at austerity measures to save the economy were met with mass hysteria.

  10. Anyone who thinks socialism is reactive to consumer demand, or respects individual freedom, is sadly mistaken about socialism, even the relatively benign nanny state socialism. With socialism, the government decides what’s good for you, and what you will get.

    Take former USSR Maldova, for example. It was socialist, and capitalism was forbidden. If you ran a blackmarket business, in order to feed and dress your family better, you lived in fear that your neighbors would find out and turn you in.

    Take nanny state socialism. They tax you to the limit in order to provide mediocre health care. Then they ration the care by utilizing long wait times for non-emergency medicine, hoping you’ll just give up. If you want a timely medical procedure, you pay for private insurance (in countries that allow it as a secondary system), on top of the usury taxes you already pay. Thus, only the well off can afford high quality, efficient, and timely health care. If you cannot afford to get secondary private insurance, and you complain about the long wait times…well good luck. Where are you going to vote with your feet? You certainly can’t take your tax dollars to a different insurance company. You have to pay it to the government. You cannot abstain.

    Turning your life over to an inefficient government to take care of you is a very sad, if well meaning, mistake.

  11. From a distance, he’s a rather nice-looking, normal, attractive guy; however, when he was putting on his little show the other day and the cameras showed him, up close, I couldn’t help but focus in on his eyes. Yes, it was an instinctive response, as his eyes seemed to immediately catch my attention. While this is going to sound mean, so be it–it’s not being mentioned for that purpose. His eyes–when one just observes his eyes–they appear as though they are the eyes belonging to an individual suffering from Down’s Syndrome. That’s my personal opinion. Not a slam. Not an insult. Just what I, personally, observed as I was watching him.

  12. Hate him? No he is a shining example of the way some of the rich think…they just aren’t stupid enough to say it in public.
    And this is a prime example of “white collar” crime killing people. But this is hardly the only example! I hate when “white collar” criminals get special treatment or soft sentences because ‘no one was hurt or killed’, when in fact a LOT of people were hurt and no doubt caused deaths.

    Just look at the war contractors looting our treasury while killing kids with shoddy work, besides our soldiers being killed in a illegal war.
    And even in supposedly uneventful corporate takeovers I have seen people hurt & killed.

    Let’s use this guy to shine a light on all the “white collar” criminals.

  13. Modern Capitalism – if you price a product far beyond the market rate, your consumers will object. Efforts will be made to go around you (find an alternative, throw you in jail, etc).

    Socialism – you have no individual freedom, and the government prices a product whatever it decides to price it at. You have no say and no recourse.

    Isn’t modern capitalism grand?

  14. You know, one of the markers of a psychopath is an intense need for attention coupled with a lack of empathy and pleasure at causing pain. Not all psychopaths commit murder.

    It is entirely possible that some go one to become CEO of a pharmaceutical company, where they gleefully price the only drug available to treat a parasitic disease out of the range of most terminally ill patients.

    Pharmaceutical companies have already outsourced many jobs overseas. The harder you hit them, the more they’ll tighten the belt, and the more jobs will be lost. Shkreli will probably be pleased.

    I wish there was something we could do about hemorrhaging STEM and skilled labor jobs overseas while simultaneously importing vast quantities of unskilled, entry level labor. Doctors are advising against their kids becoming doctors because it’s becoming not worth the effort – over a decade of additional education, residency, no life during those years all to keep getting pay cuts under Obamacare until it’s hard to meet your malpractice payments and the rent and the staff. These efforts to keep raising minimum wage is like throwing in the towel and accepting that the US is going to become a nation of consumers and unskilled labor. We’re trying to eke out a middle class lifestyle for unskilled, low level work. And if the trend continues of exporting out the skilled work, and importing in the unskilled that’s what we’ll be – a nation of bloated government bureaucracy, unskilled workers, and lawyers.

  15. Once again I applaud Martin Shkreli for his greed and lack of shame. Every time he appears in the news it increases the chances that Congress will grow an actual pair and pass legislation allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices. Rave on, sir, rave on.

  16. He should be celebrated as a pure Ayn Rand capitalist. Think of no one else but yourself and let the chips fall upon the free market. Bravo! As George Bush said so fondly to the woman who had to have three jobs to survive, ‘that’s uniquely American’ and so is Martin,

    I do have to give this pure capitalist some credit. He wakes up each morning knowing he is putting people’s health and lives at risk because he is price gouging their live saving drugs and then contemplates what musical artist he is going to monopolize by paying them millions gained from the suffering of schleps that purchase his life saving drugs. Uniquely American!

    No wonder the young are becoming more favorable to economic socialism than Ayn Rand, trickle down capitalism.

    Young People More Likely To Favor Socialism Than Capitalism: Pew

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