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Pharma Boss Martin Shkreli Unmasked as Wu-Tang Clan Album Buyer

Martin Shkreli, who sparked outrage by gouging the price of an HIV drug, bought the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin."
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The pharmaceutical company honcho who sparked outrage by gouging the price of a lifesaving HIV drug has been revealed to be the buyer of the only copy of the new Wu-Tang Clan album, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin."

Martin Shkreli was the highest bidder for the 31-track album by the Staten Island-based hip hop ensemble, Bloomberg News reported.


And Shkreli, who was publicly pilloried when it was revealed that he planned to increase the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent, spent $2 million for the record, according to Bloomberg, which cited "someone familiar with the deal" as its source.

Shkreli did not immediately return messages from NBC News seeking comment. But he touted his purchase on Twitter.

"If there is a curious gap in your favorite artist's discography, well, now you know why," he posted.

Shkreli was vilified in September after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York, bought the rights to the drug from Impax Laboratories for $55 million — and raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Daraprim fights toxoplasmosis, an infection that is especially dangerous for AIDS patients with weakened immune systems and also pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shkreli defended the price hike on a drug that has been around for 62 years — and can be purchased in Europe for about a buck a pill.

"It's very easy to see a large drug price increase and say 'Gosh, those people must be gouging," he told NBC News. "But when you find out that the company is not really making any money, what does that mean? It's very hard stuff to understand."

But everybody from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump criticized Shkreli, and the BBC declared that the mogul "may be the most hated man in America.”

Faced with a tsunami of outrage, Shkreli agreed to cut the price of the pill by 50 percent — to about $375 per pill.

Shkreli, 32, can do what he wants with the album — except profit from it.

Under the terms of the deal, Shkreli can't "commercialize" it for 88 years, according to Paddle8, the online auction house that Wu-Tang Clan hired to handle the transaction.

While Paddle8 did not divulge how much the album went for, the company did said it was the most ever spent on a single album, far surpassing the $306,000 spent for the only existing album from The Quarrymen, the band that became The Beatles.

Meanwhile, Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA told NBC Bay Area that he is giving some of the proceeds from the sale to charity, including the Hip-Hop Chess Federation, which uses a mix of rap and chess and martial arts to help kids learn how to make better decisions.