Martin Shkreli rejects charges

21 Dec 2015


In an interview with The Wall Street Journal only days following his arrest on charges of securities fraud (Se: Price-gouging pharma firm's Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud), Turing Pharmaceuticals' ex-CEO Martin Shkreli accused authorities of targeting him for his decision to hike the price of a life-saving HIV drug from $13.50 to $750 earlier this year.

Shkreli stood accused of running a  Ponzi-like scheme between 2009 and 2014 at his former hedge fund and a company he headed before Turing.

''You know, the press conference they put on was unacceptable,'' Shkreli told the Journal Sunday, referring to the conference held Thursday by the US attorney Robert Capers. ''They used the term 'Ponzi,' or 'Ponzi-like,' which is nowhere near reality. The indictment doesn't use that word.''

US authorities brought charges against Shkreli on Thursday. Shkreli now faces allegations of securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy related to his management of hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, where he lost investors' money through bad trades, and biopharmaceutical company Retrophin, which he allegedly looted to pay back his clients.

A conviction could see  Shkreli, who stepped down as Turing's CEO (Drug price gouger Martin Shkreli resigns from Turing Pharmaceuticals), face a 20-year jail term.

However, after he was released on bond of a $5 million, Shkreli, who had, since September, been called a ''morally bankrupt sociopath'' and ''the most hated man in America,'' among other things, rejected the allegations, and said they were ''baseless and without merit.''

Meanwhile, the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) and Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida suspended a planned drug trial sponsored by KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc after the arrest of Shkreli, its CEO, Bloomberg reported.

Moffitt suspended the clinical trial, which was to have been funded by KaloBios, indefinitely ''pending the outcome of the investigation of KaloBios' CEO,'' the centre's spokeswoman Patricia Kim said Saturday in an e-mail.

UC Davis said its suspension will remain in effect ''pending further analysis,'' according to an e-mail from spokeswoman Dorsey Griffith. The drug under testing known as KB003, is meant for use in the treatment of leukemia.

Acquiring a majority interest in KaloBios and named himself CEO. Prior to the move, the stock of KaloBios was trading at under $1 before he made the move, and it subsequently rose to as high as $39.50, which gave the company a market value of over $100 million.

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