Being America's most hated man may not seem an enviable position, but it does have its perks being near-impossible to prosecute is one of them. Martin Shkreli, the controversial former drug-company chief executive and hedge-fund manager, saw his trial for securities fraud nearly collapse this year due to a struggle to find impartial jurors. "More than 200 people were dismissed from the pile of possible jury members because, it seems, Shkreli's reputation as a smug jerkoff who price-gouges HIV and cancer patients preceded him," notes Christina Cauterucci for Slate magazine. Comments included: "the only thing I'd be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to" and "when I walked in here today, I looked at him, and in my head, that's a snake".
Sadly for Shkreli, eventually 12 people were found who weren't as hostile (or at least smart enough to stay quiet about it) and he was convicted of three counts of securities fraud in August. Yet it apparently hasn't dented his joie de vivre. Hours after the verdicts came in, he was "sipping beer and joking about prison life from his Manhattan apartment", says Stephanie Clifford in The New York Times. Indeed, Shkreli claimed to be "delighted", saying: "This was a witch hunt of epic proportions, and maybe they found one or two broomsticks."
Shkreli clearly believes his status as national pariah won't last his future career plans, according to his Facebook page, include a stint as president of the US. His administration would include rappers Kanye West and Kodak Black in key roles; fugitive hackers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange would head the National Security Agency and the FBI respectively; and the Federal Reserve would be run by Kim Kardashian.
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In an effort to boost his popularity, Shkreli even put his unique Wu-Tang Clan album (which he bought from the legendary hip-hop group two years ago for $2m) on eBay, noted Max Jaegar in the New York Post. It was the only copy sold by the rap group and it came with "the reported rider that he not play it commercially for 88 years, though he could supposedly play it for free during parties".
Still, Shkreli may have to put his ambitions of running for office on hold for the time being. A judge revoked his $5m bail "after prosecutors complained that his out-of-court antics posed a danger to the community", says Renae Merle in The Washington Post. The tipping point came when he "offered his Facebook followers $5,000 to grab a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair during her book tour". Although he claimed that "he did not expect anyone to take his online comments seriously" and compared his behaviour "to Trump himself", the judge disagreed, sending him to jail.
In a further twist to an already bizarre case, experts are now questioning whether the album is genuinely the work of the artists or whether the disgraced executive "paid lavishly for the work of a little-known producer with a peripheral link to the storied rap group". As Devin Leonard puts it on Bloomberg, it looks as though, for all his bluster, Shkreli "may himself have been played".
Tabloid money what you can earn as an it-girl
"All you smartphone geeks who've been holding your breath can now relax the iPhone X has arrived," says Saira Khan in the Sunday Mirror. "But I reckon a lot of the woo-hoos turned to boo-hoos" when the £999 price tag was revealed. "Unless it can iron, clean and cook, there's no way I'll pay silly money for a device that's marginally different to what I already have. And no amount of wireless charging or facial recognition will change my mind," says Khan. "On reflection, I think my old model is the smartest phone."
"Ten years on from the credit crunch, the demise of Northern Rock and the ensuing banking crisis, I have a question for you," says Karren Brady in The Sun on Sunday. "Who do you trust?" After the financial crisis and the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal, no one trusts the banks any more. No one trusts the pensions industry, either most of us associate it with corruption and incompetence, according to a report from the National Employment Savings Trust, the government's workplace pensions scheme. And what of our other institutions? Trust in politicians has never been high, of course, but even the BBC with its gender pay gap and "fat cat payoffs for senior managers" has been tainted. About the only public figure we've any respect for these days is the Queen at least "she values integrity over celebrity".
"It-girl" Alexa Chung stands to make a "staggering" £3.4m from putting The Last Battalion, the company into which she channelled her earnings, into voluntary liquidation, says Sebastian Shakespeare in the Daily Mail. The 33-year-old designer's assets include £2.7m in investments and £791,000 due from a US partnership, according to a declaration of solvency submitted to Companies House. "Whoever knew there was so much cash in being a girl-about-town?"
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