Martin Shkreli has finally been forced to part ways with what RZA’s calls “the Mona Lisa” of Wu-Tang Clan albums, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, after the United States sold the one-of-a-kind record. All proceeds from the sale will be applied to the outstanding balance owed on the disgraced pharma-bro’s Forfeiture Money Judgment. Neither a final sale amount nor buyer name was revealed.
“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 Kasulis said of the sale. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.”
RZA sold the record to Shkreli for $2 million in 2015 and, in 2017, federal prosecutors requested Shkreli forfeit over $7 million in assets after being convicted of securities fraud that August. The record was one of the assets forfeited, along with Lil Wayne’s long-delayed, unreleased album The Carter V, a Pablo Picasso painting, and a World War II-era codebreaking “Enigma machine.” Shkreli was found guilty in 2017 on three of eight counts of securities fraud, including cheating investors out of more than $11 million between 2009 and 2014 in a “Ponzi-like scheme.”
“It was hard for me to sell that album because I wanted it to be on my living room table.” RZA said while laughing in a previous interview with Rolling Stone. “When it was finally completed and everything was sent out, I was like, ‘This would be great in the Wu mansion.’ Whoever comes by here can see this piece of art sitting in my living room. I argued with the people that invested money to get the project on its way, but they wanted [their investment] back. So it would’ve cost me more than the selling price in reality, because of the deficit that was already incurred. Also, everybody is like, ‘This ain’t for you. That’s even more selfish than selling it.’ They were talking to me to let that thing go.”