Widely despised pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli arrested for alleged securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, drug company villain
(Image credit: Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals who gained infamy for jacking up the price of a life-saving drug to $750 a dose, from $13.50, has been arrested on suspicion that he illegally siphoned shares from a biotech firm he founded to pay for unrelated debts, Bloomberg reported Thursday morning. Update: Reuters confirmed that FBI agents arrested Shkreli early Thursday; he was wearing a hoodie as he was escorted from his Midtown Manhattan apartment tower.

Shkreli was ousted from the earlier firm he started, Retrophin Inc., in 2014, and the board of that company has sued him, accusing him of misappropriating money from Retrophin to pay off investors in his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to file a civil suit against Shkreli that hews closely to the federal criminal case.

After becoming a poster boy for greed and pharmaceutical excess with his 5,000 percent price hike for Daraprim, Shkreli purchased a majority stake in KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc., and KaloBios quickly and sharply raised the price of a medicine to fight Chagas, a fatal parasitic infection common in Latin America. And Shkreli, who first made a fortune shorting biopharmaceutical stocks, seems to be comfortable with his villain status. At a Forbes summit in New York earlier in December, the young chief executive, wearing a hoodie, said that if he were given a do-over on Daraprim pricing, "I probably would have raised the price higher" because "my investors expect me to maximize profits."

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