Disgraced mogul selling -- or breaking -- Wu-Tang album

New York (AFP) –


Disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli is selling his coveted single copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album -- but he might also destroy it.

The 34-year-old businessman -- whose price hike of a critical HIV drug and smug demeanor have earned him the moniker "The Most Hated Man in America" -- in 2015 bought "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," of which the celebrated rap ensemble made a sole edition.

A month after his conviction for securities fraud, Shkreli late Tuesday put the album for sale on eBay -- and with characteristic bravado said that he had never fully listened to it.

"At any time I may cancel this sale and I may even break this album in frustration," he wrote in a note for the auction, which will run through September 15.

The double-CD, for which Shkreli paid $2 million in what was considered the most expensive ever purchase of a musical recording, was selling early Wednesday for $75,300.

Shkreli insisted he did not need money but rather was trying to make a larger point. He was roundly criticized for buying the album, including by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah who said the work should belong to "the people."

"I decided to purchase this album as a gift to the Wu-Tang Clan for their tremendous musical output. Instead I received scorn from at least one of their (least-intelligent) members, and the world at large failed to see my purpose of putting a serious value behind music," Shkreli wrote.

"I will be curious to see if the world values music nearly as much as I have."

The Wu-Tang Clan, reflecting the group's fascination with fantasy narratives, made just one copy of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" and stored it in a vault in Morocco while auctioning it.

The Wu-Tang Clan declared that the album could not be made available commercially until the year 2103 but indicated that its owner was free to share it to private parties.

Shkreli flirted with releasing the music and played some of it on video-sharing site Periscope in November as he gloated over Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election.

RZA, generally considered the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, has said that the group approved the sale of the album before Shkreli made headlines by jacking up the price of HIV drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill overnight.

A Brooklyn jury last month found Shkreli guilty on three unrelated counts of securities fraud, although he was acquitted on the most serious charge.