The United States has sold the only existing copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
The unreleased album, which was seized from convicted pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, was sold Tuesday to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release from the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward a $7.4 million forfeiture judgment that Shkreli was required to pay as a result of his securities fraud conviction in 2018.
“Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself,” said Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.”
The U.S. government sold the only existing copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” to an unknown buyer. It was seized from Martin Shkreli after his conviction https://t.co/CrgRcr4UW1 pic.twitter.com/IanNnYaFAO
— Bloomberg Pursuits (@luxury) July 27, 2021
Shkreli, known as “Pharma Bro,” purchased the 31-track album—which featured all the surviving members of Wu-Tang—at auction in 2015 for a reported $2 million. The “unique work of art” came in a hand-carved nickel-silver box with a 174-page leather-bound book containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity. Shkreli live-streamed a portion of the album in 2016 to celebrate Donald Trump’s presidential election win.
“There’s a lot of things rich dudes buy just … to show off,” Shkreli told “The Breakfast Club” in 2016. “The point is I wanted to show respect for art. Music means more to me than anything.”
After learning that Shkreli had purchased the album, RZA told Bloomberg Businessweek that the group decided to give “a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”