Saturday, 5 August 2017

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli found guilty of securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, who found infamy after he hiked the price of a life-saving drug by hundreds of dollars, has been convicted of securities fraud.
The former pharmaceutical company CEO - once dubbed "the Most Hated Man In America" - was found guilty on three of the eight counts after a month-long trial.

Shkreli was accused of duping investors into putting money in two failing hedge funds. Prosecutors said he claimed one fund contained $40m (£31m) when there was just $300 in it.

He also lied to investors about his record with such funds and falsely told them they were low risk, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said the trial "exposed Martin Shkreli for who he really is - a con man who stole millions".

But outside the court, Shkreli said he was "delighted to report" that he had been acquitted of "the most important charges".

The 34-year-old thanked his defence saying he is "the greatest lawyer on the planet".

In closing arguments, Ben Brafman argued some investors had admitted during the trial that partnering with Shkreli was "the greatest investment I've ever made".

"Who lost anything? Nobody," he said.

But some witnesses described how they were kept in the dark as Shkreli tried to recover the losses from bad stock picks.

"I don't think it mattered to him, it was just what he thought he could get away with," said Richard Kocher, a New Jersey construction company owner who invested $200,000.

"It was insulting."

In 2015, Shkreli was widely condemned for putting up the price of HIV drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750.

Some potential jurors were rejected because of his notoriety, with one calling him a "snake" and another "the face of corporate greed".

He further wound his critics up during the trial, attacking the prosecutors and media on Facebook, describing the case as a "witch hunt" and calling for someone to "drain the swamp" of the Department of Justice.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

SKY     News.