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Published: Thu, June 29, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

'Pharma Bro' Defies Advice to Keep Quiet Before Fraud Trial


Former pharmaceutical chief executive Martin Shkreli has gone on trial in NY charged with fraud.

Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine. The judge dismissed her and several others after they made negative comments about Shkreli as jury selection got underway for his securities fraud trial.

Another man told the judge, Kiyo A. Matsumoto, "This is the price gouger of drugs". He went on Twitter to label members of Congress "imbeciles" for demanding to know why his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis and HIV, from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

One of them called him "the face of corporate greed".

He is accused of fraud relating to a drug company he previously headed, Retrophin, and a hedge fund, where he was a manager.

Shkreli, called "pharma bro" by some in news media, has also generated headlines with his activity on social media - even as defense attorneys have purportedly advised him to remain quiet outside of court. One potential juror said, "He's a snake".

Shkreli and his former counsel Evan Greebel are charged with allegedly defrauding investors of hedge funds that Shkreli formerly managed.

Although the charges are unrelated to the controversy surrounding Daraprim, Shkreli says that prosecutors targeted him for both the price hike and his flamboyant personality.

According to his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli - who once claimed to be worth as much as $70 million - is now penniless and "doesn't have any cash".

Martin Shkreli talking to Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network.

Since his high-profile arrest in late 2015 when he was led into court in a gray hoodie, Shkreli has been free on bail and free to speak his mind. He leaked parts of the album following President Trump's election victory.

When Matsumoto told prospective jurors that Shkreli's work in pharmaceuticals was not on trial, prosecutor Alixandra Smith corrected her.

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