'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli Convicted of Fraud

'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli Convicted of Fraud

Former pharmaceutical chief executive Martin Shkreli has been found guilty of three counts of securities fraud.

A New York City jury cleared him on five other counts after five days of deliberations.

He was on trial in relation to a drug company he previously headed, Retrophin, and a hedge fund he managed.

Shkreli, 34, was branded "the most hated man in America" in 2015 when his firm hiked the price of a medication used by Aids patients.

Standing outside court in Brooklyn, Shkreli said: "This was a witch hunt of epic proportions.

"And maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we've been acquitted of the most important charges in this case and I'm delighted to report that."

Shkreli rocketed to notoriety in 2015 after raising the price of a lifesaving anti-parasite drug called Daraprim by 5,000% upon acquiring rights to the medication.

Overnight, the price of the drug soared from $13.50 to $750 per dose.

The trial heard how Shkreli lied to investors about the performance of two hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare.

He then stole from Retrophin, his pharmaceutical company, to pay investors back, prosecutors said.

"Martin is a brilliant young man," his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said after Friday's ruling.

"Sometimes, people's skills don't translate well," he told reporters, adding that his client suffers from "an image issue".

During the trial, the attorney portrayed his client as a misunderstood "nerd" who turned up at work wearing a doctor's "stethoscope and bunny slippers".

The so-called "pharma bro" often vented his spleen on social media, eventually getting himself banned from Twitter after harassing a female journalist.

Shkreli was also admonished after refusing to answer questions during testimony to congressmen, whom he later called "imbeciles".

 

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