The U.S. government has sold disgraced pharma exec Martin Shkreli's forfeited copy of Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin -- the only copy of the album in existence -- to an undisclosed buyer. According to the the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York press release, proceeds will be a "substitute asset" towards the approximately $7.4 million forfeiture money judgment entered against Shkreli at his March 2018 sentencing.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself," Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis wrote in a statement. "With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete."
If you haven't been keeping up on all this, according to Wu-Tang Clan, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was recorded in secret over the course of six years, with a single, two-CD copy pressed in 2014 and stored in a secure vault in a Moroccan hotel. It was auctioned for millions in 2015 to Shkreli, under the agreement that it can't be released commercially for 88 years, until 2103. RZA said that the sale was agreed upon "well before Martin Skhreli's [sic] business practices came to light," and that a "significant portion of the proceeds" were given to charity. Shkreli later tried to sell the album on eBay -- RZA wanted to buy it back but conditions of the auction wouldn't allow that -- before having to turn it over, along with other assets, to the government.
Pitchfork notes that while the D.A. also ordered Shkreli to turn over his unreleased copy of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V, authorities didn't actually seize or recover any financial amount for that.
This could be the ending to the Netflix movie that's being made about the Shkreli/Wu-Tang saga, though there's been no new news about that since last year. Stay tuned.