The “poster boy for drug company greed” was picked up at his Midtown Manhattan apartment and is expected to be charged with securities fraud.
Image via Twitter / @martinshkreli
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli—whose decision to increase the cost of that company’s life-saving Daraprim medication by an astonishing 5,500 percent led to his meteoric rise as internet villain par excellence—was arrested by federal authorities early Thursday morning, reports Bloomberg.
While there are plenty of people who would love to see Shkreli thrown in jail for jacking up the price on important drugs, Thursday’s arrest actually stems from his involvement in Retrophin Inc., a separate pharmaceutical firm founded by Shkreli in 2012, from which he reportedly was ousted in 2014. In January of this year, federal prosecutors issued subpoenas to Retrophin for information regarding Shkreli’s time at that company, during which, says Reuters, he was suspected of using his position as CEO to manipulate financial dealings in order to pay off debts accrued by MSMB Capital Management, a hedge fund he also managed.
This is not the first time Shkreli’s past with Retrophin and MSMB has landed him in legal trouble. The drug company sued their former CEO for $65 million this past August, alleging that he misused company funds and assets.
The 32-year-old, dubbed by Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign as “the poster boy for drug company greed,” was taken into custody by FBI agents, a spokeswoman for the bureau confirmed to Reuters. The FBI also confirmed that it has arrested Evan Greebel, a New York City lawyer who served as outside counsel to Retrophin, and who is thought to have conspired with Shkreli regarding the financial manipulations.
Since earning widespread attention for raising the price of Daraprim in September, Shkreli has seemed to revel in playing the villain, frequently clashing with detractors online. He endorsed—and then retracted his support for—presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (who called the CEO “the poster boy for drug company greed”) and spent $2 million to purchase the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. In an interview with HipHopDX’s Justin Hunte, published the day before his arrest, Shkreli is quoted as saying: “To me, what I’m doing right now in the media, raising prices, all this shit, believe what you want, but it’s interesting. It gets people talking. At the end of the day, that’s what art is.”
The artist is expected to be charged with securities fraud.