FBI arrests pharma CEO Martin Shkreli on fraud charges

2015-12-18 07:39
Martin Shkreli (C), a former hedge fund manager and Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin, leaves the federal court after getting bail, in New York. (AFP)

Martin Shkreli (C), a former hedge fund manager and Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin, leaves the federal court after getting bail, in New York. (AFP)

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New York - Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical CEO who caused a storm in September by jacking up the price of a life-saving drug, was arrested on Thursday on fraud charges, the FBI said.

His arrest was not linked to the 5000% increase in the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat malaria and infections suffered by HIV-positive individuals.

The FBI said he was targeted instead in an embezzlement probe at another company he once led, Retrophin.

Also arrested was Evan Greebel, a lawyer who was outside counsel to Retrophin, the agency said.

Shkreli, a 32-year-old former hedge fund manager, gained notoriety in September when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750 after acquiring the drug.

The move was angrily denounced by US politicians.

"Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous," Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton said on Twitter, vowing to fight runaway drug prices.

Turing later announced that while it would not lower the drug's per tablet price, it would negotiate agreements with health groups on wholesale prices.

Shkreli specialises in buying patents on inexpensive drugs and then hiking their price.

In November, he gained control of another drug company, Kalobios Pharmaceuticals, whose stock price plummeted Tuesday on news of his arrest, falling 53.24% to $11.03 before trading was suspended.

Revelling in controversy, Shkreli made waves earlier this month by buying a secret Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin."

Read more on:    us  |  hiv aids

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