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‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Claims Someone Scammed Him For $15 Million Over Kanye West’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

It’s almost like Martin Shkreli can’t catch a break these days. Ever since he invoked a hogshead of karmic comeuppance in the wake of a pharmaceutical price-gouging scandal last year, the 32 year-old poster boy for unrestrained, free market capitalism has experienced more bad fortune than good, including a recent foul-up that has allegedly cost him somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million.

The Daily Mail reports that Shkreli, a frequent user of the social media platform Twitter, went on a rant online shortly after Kanye West released his new album The Life of Pablo on Saturday night. In a series of angry tweets, Shkreli claimed that he paid 37,000 bitcoins worth $15 million for exclusive rights to the album. The tirade, which included a fair share of profanity, is still posted in its entirety on Martin Shkreli’s Twitter page.

Martin Shkreli arrested
Pharmacy Executive Martin Shkreli does the walk of shame after his arrest for securities fraud. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

It’s a bizarre story, for sure. Martin Shkreli — who is supposedly an astute enough businessman to have engaged in a complicated and ostensibly successful conspiracy generating millions in ill-gotten gains — said he made a deal with someone named “Daquan” to buy Kanye’s new album. He apparently also tried to work directly with the artist himself to seal the deal, but it is not clear if the two directly corresponded.

Martin Shkreli also posted a video of himself listening to the album and appearing to fight back tears. In the course of the vlog post, he laments that his parents will “kill him” over the bad deal.

As noted by Business Insider, a maneuver by Martin Shkreli to lock down Kanye’s The Life of Pablo for himself would be largely in step with the public persona that he has steadily cultivated over the course of recent months. He first came to the attention of mainstream America in late 2015 when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased rights to the drug Daraprim, which can be used to treat complications associated with AIDS. His next move was to raise the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill, outraging consumers and government officials, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

kanye west kardashian shirt
Kanye West attends “Kanye West Yeezy Season 3” on February 11, 2016 in New York City. His t-shirt memorializes his wife’s later father, O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)

Dubbed “the most hated man in America” by the media, Martin Shkreli then purchased the sole copy of an album by iconic hip hop group Wu Tang Clan, opting to keep the music permanently under wraps despite the fact that he could share it with the public if he chose to do so. In an interview, Shkreli later joked that he would be willing to play the record for Taylor Swift, provided the platinum recording artist would have sex with him.

But it’s entirely possible that Martin Shkreli’s cartoonish, super-villain antics might finally be catching up with him. If true, his bad fortune over the Kanye album is not even his worst financial debacle in recent history. Just two weeks ago, his E-trade account dropped in value by around $40 million. Business Insider suggested that the massive loss in assets was a direct result of Shkreli’s arrest in December for securities fraud. Since Shkreli was photographed doing the proverbial “perp walk” late last year, he has also lost his positions with two different drug companies, KaloBios and Turing Pharmaceuticals. His legal entanglements, which involve allegations of wrongdoing while he was CEO of KaloBios, led to his termination from that company. He resigned from Turing.

Nevertheless, Martin Shkreli appears to believe he will have the last laugh once the dust settles from all of his trials and tribulations. Via Twitter, he claimed that Bitcoin is diligently working to retrieve the money that he lost on the Kanye scam.

Shkreli also doesn’t appear to be too worried about his legal issues, defiantly appearing before Congress and invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He later skewered the panel of elected officials, referring to them as imbeciles. All told, it was an interesting choice of verbiage in hindsight, seeing as how Martin Shkreli was the only person in the room that day who would ever even consider spending $15 million on a Kanye West album.

[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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