Ratfaced troll Martin Shkreli has been hording his copy of the ultra-rare Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which he purchased in 2015 for $2 million. But according to court documents released today, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is just one of several pricey pieces of art that Shkreli may have to give up as part of the securities fraud conviction he received back in August, for which he was fined $7.4 million. In addition to the Wu-Tang album, he may be forced to forfeit his copy of Lil Wayne’s unreleased Tha Carter V, as well as an original Picasso painting.
The big question: What’s going to happen to Martin Shkreli? Kidding! No one cares. The real question is: What will happen to the much-talked about Wu-Tang album (which, as Bloomberg reported in September, may not have even really been an official Wu-Tang project)? Since the initial news that the villainous Shkreli was in possession of the album, fans have obsessed over a way to free to free it from his clutches. Now, the end may be in sight.
J. Cabou, a partner at international law firm Perkins-Coie, told The Outline that if Shkreli forfeits the album, it could then make its way back to the public, but for a cost. “Any items that are forfeited to the United States get sold for maximum value by the U.S. Marshals Service in a public auction and it goes to the highest bidder,” Cabou said. Luckily, the U.S. Marshals Service, an agent of the Department of Justice, makes their auctions and sales easy to find. Items are listed on their official auction page, and if all goes well (not for Shkreli) it will soon include one of the rarest modern musical artifacts of all time. The new owner could then do whatever they wanted with the album, apart from commercially releasing it. Meanwhile, the government would pocket the profits.
There is one cause for hesitation, though: It’s unclear whether or not Shkreli still owns the album. Bloomberg reported that he listed and sold it on eBay for $1 million, though a buyer hasn’t been identified. In the case that Shkreli can’t produce the album, he’ll have to make up for its $2 million value by forfeiting another expensive possession of his. The government, meanwhile, won’t be able to take back the album from its new owner, which means it could stay shrouded in secrecy.
Shkreli is currently in federal custody in New York, hopefully looking back on his life and trying to pinpoint the moment his life started going downhill, but also probably not doing that. For now, Shkreli's lawyer told BuzzFeed he plans to "vigorously oppose" the government's motion. Extremely wealthy music lovers should keep their eyes on the U.S. Marshals Service website over the next several months. For the price of whatever the federal government decides, a piece of hip-hop history could be yours.