Infamous ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli, who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud, has said he is “willing to testify” to Congress on the GameStop-Robinhood stocks controversy.
Shkreli weighed in on the raging controversy in an email to his ex-partner, former Bloomberg News reporter Christie Smythe, who made waves last month after giving an interview to Elle magazine about her relationship with the former hedge fund manager and Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO.
“LOL – this thing is so nuts,” wrote Shkreli in the email posted by Smythe, adding: “You can let the world know, if you’d like, that I’d be willing to testify [at a congressional hearing on the incident].”
“As an original WSB moderator, I have a lot to say,” Shkreli concluded in his email, referencing the WallStreetBets subreddit online community where the mass stock purchases were organized by the amateur traders.
Several members of Congress have already called for an official hearing, after trading app Robinhood prohibited its users on Thursday from buying stocks in a number of companies including GameStop, Nokia, and BlackBerry. Those stocks had been invested in by a group of have-a-go investors, resulting in billions of dollars worth of losses for Wall Street hedge fund short-sellers.
The trading app’s decision generated a huge controversy, with Robinhood being accused of interfering in the free market against the interests of its working- and middle-class users in an effort to protect the wealthy.
Shkreli himself shot to infamy in 2015, after raising the price of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent, and soon became the media’s go-to representative of American capitalist greed. He appeared to enjoy the infamy, taking on a cocky internet villain persona, and engaging in stunts such as purchasing the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s much-hyped ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ album and then refusing to let the public listen to it, until he was imprisoned in 2018.
After posting a screenshot of Shkreli’s email on Twitter, Smythe was asked by a fellow journalist whether the two were “talking again,” to which she replied that they were, concluding her post with a smiley-face emoji.
In December, Elle detailed how Smythe gave up everything – including her job and her marriage – after falling in love with Shkreli while covering his story. Ironically, he then appeared to break off the relationship, with a statement to the magazine wishing her “the best of luck in her future endeavors.”
Smythe took heat on social media for defending Shkreli after the breakup, insisting he was not a “psychopath.” Now it appears the pair have at least partially reconciled, though Smythe clarified they are not in a relationship, but “just talking” again.
The admission prompted more warnings from Smythe’s followers, with one poster advising her she “should probably stop” speaking to him for her own good.
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