Shkreli resigns as Turing CEO after securities fraud arrest

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I am confident I will prevail’: Disgraced pharmacy boss Martin Shkreli claims fraud allegations against him are ‘baseless and without merit’.

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceuticals entrepreneur vilified for jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug, said on Saturday that unrelated securities fraud allegations that resulted in his arrest this week were “baseless and without merit.” Federal prosecutors have alleged that Shkreli was running a Ponzi-like scheme at his former hedge fund and a company he headed before he took the helm of Turing Pharmaceuticals Inc, where he created an uproar in September when the company raised the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.Shkreli, who is charged with securities fraud and conspiracy, having been arrested on Thursday, used Twitter on Saturday to say: “I am confident I will prevail.

The allegations against me are baseless and without merit.’ In an interview with Vanity Fair before he was arrested, the hated former executive likened himself to Robin Hood, John D Rockefeller and the robber barons, as he insists that he finds it ‘fun’ to read the hateful tweets sent to him by users. ‘I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I liken myself to the robber barons,’ he told Vanity Fair in an astonishing interview before he was arrested and charged with fraud on Thursday, then fired. Shkreli, who has become a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices, was arrested before dawn at the tony Murray Hill Tower Apartments in midtown Manhattan.

That sat above a retweet he had posted of a Vanity Fair profile from a day earlier, and a link to a Dec. 17 statement that also said Shkreli expected to be “fully vindicated.” Prosecutors have charged Shkreli, 32, with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He then bought the Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind secret album encased in a hand-crafted bejewelled silver box, out-bidding billionaires across the globe. His tweet on Saturday was his first direct comment about the pending charges, although a representative earlier said Shkreli was confident that he would be cleared. It was a dramatic turn of events for Shkreli, who in recent months became a pariah for his controversial remarks in the press and taunts on social media outlets, including to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Thanks for the support.” Prosecutors say that from 2009 to 2014, Shkreli lost some of his hedge fund investors’ money through bad trades, then looted a pharmaceutical company where he was chief executive for $11m to pay back his disgruntled clients.

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, pilloried him for price-gouging, and he was pulled into congressional investigations into drug pricing. And I thought we could be friends.’ He pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy for orchestrating three interrelated schemes: schemes to defraud investors in MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare and a scheme to misappropriate Retrophin’s assets. In an odd foreshadowing of events, a video posted last night on his YouTube page shows Shkreli answering a phone call during a live stream in which a caller at 1:22:10 identifies himself as a “special agent” before Shkreli appears to cut him off and hangs up.

The indictment, the result of an ongoing investigation, also charged Evan Greebel, a former partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman who was Retrophin’s outside counsel. Both were also sued in a related lawsuit by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which also named New York-based hedge fund MSMB Capital Management as a defendant.

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