Health and Science

Martin Shkreli hit with $4.6M IRS tax lien

Martin Shkreli offers Kanye West $10M for new album
Martin Shkreli offers Kanye West $10M for new album

How much would Martin Shkreli pay for the rights to the Beatles' song "Taxman"?

The pharma bad boy Shkreli might find it a bit tougher to afford that old tune nowadays after getting slapped by the IRS with a new lien for $4,628,928 in unpaid taxes.

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, departs the U.S. Capitol after appearing before a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Developments in the Prescription Drug Market Oversight" on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 4, 2016..
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The tax agency whipped up that lien against Shkreli's property in midtown Manhattan on Dec. 18, a day after he was arrested by the FBI on federal securities fraud charges.

The IRS actually filed the lien Jan. 11 with the Office of the City Register in New York, according to the website, which first reported the lien.

The vast majority of Shkreli's unpaid taxes, $4.625 million, was incurred in 2014, according to a copy of a filing on record at the register's office that Gawker posted online.

Another $3,431 in unpaid taxes were incurred in 2013, according to the lien.

Gawker noted that the lien, whose amount reflects taxes, interest and penalties, was filed because "we had made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid."

The lien gives the IRS the right to its cut of any proceeds of a sale of Shkreli's property. The lien does not identify the source of income that Shkreli owes taxes for.

Source: Office of the City Register, NYC, via

"I have no comment," said Shkreli's high-powered criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, when asked about his client's tax lien.

Shkreli has said he is innocent of the criminal case, in which prosecutors claim he looted his former pharma company Retrophin to pay off investors he was suspected of previously defrauding in a hedge fund he ran.

Last week, during a hearing in that case in Brooklyn federal court, it was revealed that Shkreli's E-Trade account, which had been used to secure his $5 million release bond, had dramatically fallen in value. That account, which had held $46 million when it was used to secure the bond in January, since had fallen to about $4 million, federal prosecutors revealed.

The steep drop was due to the plunge in price of the stock of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, whose shares comprised the majority of the E-Trade account. Shkreli briefly ran KaloBios after obtaining a controlling share of the company, but was booted as CEO after he was indicted. KaloBios' stock tanked on the heels of his arrest.

Kanye West and Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli offers Kanye West $10M for new album

Ironically, Shkreli's tax lien has come to light at the same time he brazenly offered to buy Kanye West's forthcoming album "The Life of Pablo" for $10 million if the superstar singer agreed to "sell this recording solely to me."

"My offer is not subject to a financing condition and I had discussed this offer with several investment banks and counsel which would assist me in this acquisition," Shrekli wrote West, according to a letter that Shkreli posted Thursday on Twitter.

(Shkreli's Tweet)

Rapper Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan
Ghostface Killah fires back at 'pharma bro' Shkreli

Shkreli has a habit of spending big for the music of his favorite performers. Last year, it was revealed that he had plopped down $2 million to buy the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin."

Since then, he has engaged in an ongoing beef with Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah, who, among other things, called out Shkreli for raising the price of an anti-parasite drug by more than 5,000 percent last summer.

Shkreli's company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of that drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill after buying the medication last year. Shkreli stepped down as CEO of Turing after his indictment.