Shkreli reportedly acquired the album in 2015 for $2 million USD. A former pharmaceutical executive, he gained widespread media condemnation for hiking up the price of a critical medication by 5,000 percent. In 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud and was required to forfeit approximately $7.4 million USD in assets.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sold the unreleased album, titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, in connection to Shkreli’s sentencing and said that proceeds from the sale would be applied to the judgment against him. Information about the buyer of the album and its sale price remain confidential.
The album is described in the DOJ press release as “both a work of art and an audio artifact,” and includes a “hand-carved nickel-silver box as well as a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity.” Shkreli previously sought to sell the album through an online auction prior to its seizure by the U.S. government.
Peter Scoolidge, a New York-based lawyer who is said to represent the person who purchased the album, told CNBC that the buyer would soon reveal their identity.
“This was the most interesting deal I have ever worked on,” he said in a statement to the outlet, noting that the person involved “is going to identify themselves in the future, I’d say in the next 30 to 60 days.”
CNBC noted that Scoolidge previously represented artist Jason Koza, who sued Shkreli, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, the album’s co-producer Tarik Azzougarh and an online auction house over the artwork used in the album’s manuscript. He also represented Azzougarh in the past and did not rule out the possibility that multiple buyers may have reclaimed the album from the government.