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FBI Arrests Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli On Fraud Charges

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A file photo shows AIDS activists carrying an image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli in a makeshift cat litter pan, angry over his company's move to raise a drug's cost. Shkreli was arrested on charges unrelated to that 5,000 percent price hi
Craig Ruttle, AP
A file photo shows AIDS activists carrying an image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli in a makeshift cat litter pan, angry over his company's move to raise a drug's cost. Shkreli was arrested on charges unrelated to that 5,000 percent price hike.

Martin Shkreli, the drug executive who was widely criticized for sharply raising the price of a drug used by HIV patients, has been arrested by federal agents on charges that he misused funds at the company he founded.

The charges were first reported by both Reuters and Bloomberg — which only yesterday was reporting on Shkreli's skills at short selling.

Today, Bloomberg reports:

"Prosecutors charged him 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 was later ousted from the company, where he'd been chief executive officer, and sued by its board."

Shkreli, 32, became notorious among AIDS activists and others in September, when Turing Pharmaceutical, the company he founded after leaving Retrophin, raised the price of Daraprim, a drug that HIV patients have for years used to fight a deadly parasitic infection, from $13 a pill to $750 — a 5,000 percent increase.

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This month, he's also been in headlines for his affection for rap music, gaining the nickname Pharma Bro after being identified as the purchaser of the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan's album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, for $2 million.

On Wednesday, Shkreli's Twitter feed was full of responses to his move to bail Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda out of jail.

When reached for comment, a Retrophin spokesperson replied with this statement:

"The Directors of Retrophin replaced Martin Shkreli as Chief Executive Officer more than a year ago because of serious concerns about his conduct. Following his departure, the company authorized an independent investigation of Mr. Shkreli's conduct, publicly disclosed its findings, and has fully cooperated with the government investigations into Mr. Shkreli. Until we have had the opportunity to review the charges against Mr. Shkreli, we cannot comment further."

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