Martin Shkreli says the FBI arrested him at his home because he raised the price of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000%, not because he was involved in illegal schemes to defraud his own companies.
In an interview Sunday afternoon with The Wall Street Journal, Shkreli insisted that federal prosecutors were only going after him because of the drug price hike. He also says presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calling him the “poster child of greed,” didn’t help.
“‘Trying to find anything we could to stop him,’ was the attitude of the government,” Shkreli said, according to the Journal. “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.”
If convicted on securities fraud and conspiracy charges, he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. He remains free on a $5 million bond.
During a press conference, US Attorney Robert Capers said the drug price hike played no role in the investigation of the charges against him. Capers said the probe began in 2014 when Shkreli was still CEO of Retrophin, a separate drug company which fired him more than a year ago.
Retrophin is involved in a $65 million lawsuit against Shkreli. That lawsuit claims the company’s former CEO stole millions of dollars from investors which were then used to fund his failing hedge fund.
FBI official Diego Rodriguez said the charges represent “a securities fraud trifecta of lies, deceit, and greed.”
Shkreli stepped down from his CEO role at Turing Pharmaceuticals late last week, he remains at the helm of his recently acquired company, KaloBios.
In his spare time, he has been playing chess online and live-streaming on YouTube. Some of his streaming sessions have lasted upwards of 10 hours.