When people learned that the most hated man on the Internet, Martin Shkreli, was arrested by the FBI on Thursday morning for securities fraud, there were two major reactions. (Well, three, if you wondered about the attractiveness of the agents who placed him in handcuffs.)
Judging by most Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines, people were extraordinarily pleased to learn that Shkreli was in trouble with the law—probably because the 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals had been infamous for acquiring a life-saving AIDS drug and then raising the price more than 5,000 percent. And some people wondered about the whereabouts of Shkreli’s most famous purchase—the latest album from Wu-Tang Clan, who made just one copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and then sold it to Shkreli for $2 million.
The FBI was quick to let people know that it wasn’t in possession of the album.
#Breaking no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn't seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) December 17, 2015
But did Shkreli give his most avid fans a clue on Wednesday night when he was livestreaming on YouTube?
As Gawker notes, the album had been stored in a hotel vault in Monaco while the rap group waited for a buyer, and it’s unclear if Shkreli had actually received a physical copy of the album yet. But he might actually have it in his possession, and he might have brandished it Wednesday night. (While, weirdly enough, listening to post-hardcore band Thursday’s minor hit, “Understanding In a Car Crash.”)
As Gawker notes:
Known photos of the record show a ‘silver-and-nickel box’ with engraving covering its face, save for a bare patch in the shape of Wu-Tang’s famous curling ‘W’ logo. What Shkreli shows is the opposite: a clean face with an engraved logo. That said, it’s quite possible that what Shkreli holds up to the camera could be the final, inmost case in series of cases like Russian nesting dolls containing the album.
But what will happen to the album if Shkreli eventually goes to trial and is found guilty? As Yahoo explains, “If Shkreli is ultimately found guilty, the next stop for the sole copy of the legendary hip-hop group’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is likely the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the U.S. Marshals Service—that is, assuming he hasn’t destroyed or hidden it.”
The Atlantic also has come up with a few scenarios in which the album might be taken out of his possession, including the idea that the Feds could seize the album if it’s determined he used the profit from his alleged schemes in order to buy it or if he’s found guilty and has to pay a substantial fine as part of his punishment. The Atlantic also theorizes that Shkreli, at some point, might need to sell the album in order to raise funds for his legal defense.
But for now, nobody seems to know the whereabouts of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, or if what people saw Wednesday was the real deal. Maybe we should just ask Bill Murray.