Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli calls arrest 'real injustice' and blames it on AIDS drug price hike
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli (CBS/screen grab)

Ex-Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO claims his arrest is ‘definitely not something I deserve’ as Twitter account hackers rename his profile ‘Martin the God’

Controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has called his arrest last week a “real injustice” and blamed it on the political heat generated by his former company’s decision to raise the price of a cancer and Aids drug by as much as 5,000% .

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal , his first since his arrest on fraud charges last Friday, Shkreli said he had been arrested because his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, had raised the price of 70-year-old drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 overnight.

“Trying to find anything we could to stop him, was the attitude of the government,” Shkreli said. “Beating the person up and then trying to find the merits to make up for it – I would have hoped the government wouldn’t take that kind of approach.”

Shkreli’s arrest stemmed from an investigation into his former life as a hedge-fund manager and not from the Turing controversy, which provoked ire around the world and attracted the censure of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The now former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who has proclaimed his innocence on Twitter, described his arrest to the Journal as a “real injustice” and “definitely not something I deserve given the facts”.

It’s been a busy couple of days for Shkreli, who has been released on $5m bail. On Friday he resigned from Turing Pharmaceuticals. On Saturday, he took to Twitter to describe the allegations as “ baseless and without merit ”.

Robert Capers, US attorney of the eastern district of New York, said the charges against Shkreli were “a securities fraud trifecta of lies, deceit, and greed”.

“Shkreli essentially ran his companies like Ponzi schemes, where he used each subsequent company to pay off defrauded investors from the previous company,” said Capers, adding that the scheme cost investors more than $11m. Next to Capers onstage was a presentation board with large letter on top, saying “Shkreli’s Ponzi-like Scheme”.

Shkreli was especially upset by the news conference, which he called “unacceptable”.

“They used the term ‘Ponzi,’ or ‘Ponzi-like,” which is nowhere near reality. The indictment doesn’t use that word,” said 32-year-old Shkreli.

Shkreli’s Twitter account was hacked over the weekend. The hackers changed Shkreli’s name to “Martin The God” and his bio to “Fuck Yall ...”. Tweets sent by the hackers included:

The tweets, which were sent in the early afternoon on Sunday, remained up until Monday morning. Shortly before 11am ET on Monday, Shkreli tweeted : “I was hacked – I now have control of this account.”

Within minutes, the other messages were deleted. © Guardian News and Media 2015