Judge jails Martin Shkreli over Hillary Clinton hair offer

Disgraced pharmaceutical chief offered $5,000 for strand of hair

 Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund and pharmaceuticals executive, outside the courthouse after being convicted on three of eight counts in his federal fraud trial, in Brooklyn, on August 4th. Photograph: Louis Lanzano/the New York Times

Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund and pharmaceuticals executive, outside the courthouse after being convicted on three of eight counts in his federal fraud trial, in Brooklyn, on August 4th. Photograph: Louis Lanzano/the New York Times

 

A US judge on Wednesday ordered Martin Shkreli to be jailed while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, citing a Facebook post in which the former drug company executive nicknamed the “Pharma Bro” offered a $5,000 reward for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.

US district judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn said the September 4th post, which prompted a call from the US Secret Service, showed Shkreli posed a danger to the public that warranted revoking his $5 million bail.

US prosecutors had moved to jail Shkreli last Thursday. Shkreli, who earned the nickname “Pharma Bro” for exploits that included increasing to the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000 per cent, apologised for the post in a letter to Mr Matsumoto on Tuesday, calling it an “awkward attempt at humour or satire.”

Shkreli said in the post, since deleted, that he needed the hair to “confirm the sequences I have,” an apparent reference to genetic testing.

Shkreli was convicted in August of defrauding investors of two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare.

He was acquitted of stealing from a drug company he later founded, Retrophin, to pay them back. Though the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, Shkreli will likely serve much less, in part because none of the investors lost money.

Patients and US politicians were outraged in 2015 when Shkreli, then chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 per cent.

Since his December 2015 arrest, he has clashed frequently with critics on social media. Twitter banned him from its platform in January for harassing a female journalist, another incident prosecutors cited in their motion to revoke his bail. – (Reuters)