Martin Shkreli pleads not guilty to hiding Retrophin holdings

By Christie Smythe

Ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli exits the U.S. District Court. Photo / Getty Images
Ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli exits the U.S. District Court. Photo / Getty Images

Former drug company executive Martin Shkreli pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy charge accusing him of using employees and consultants to conceal his control of Retrophin Inc. stock.

The 33-year-old founder of Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals entered his plea on Monday in Brooklyn federal court to the new charge in a securities fraud case.

Standing beside his lawyer Ben Brafman in a dark blazer, stone-colored pants and no tie, Shkreli loudly answered "yes, your honor," when U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto asked if he had reviewed the allegations. When he asked how he pleaded he responded with equal force: "Not guilty."

Attorney Benjamin Brafman and ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli exit the U.S. District Court. Photo / Getty Images
Attorney Benjamin Brafman and ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli exit the U.S. District Court. Photo / Getty Images

Former corporate lawyer Evan Greebel, who is accused of aiding Shkreli in his schemes, also pleaded not guilty to the new charge. Although prosecutors asked to schedule a trial date in February, the judge agreed to put off deciding a date until Shkreli and Greebel have had more time to review evidence and the new allegations.

Brafman told the judge that Shkreli is still considering whether to use a "reliance-of-counsel" defense, in which he might seek to blame Greebel for his actions.

The brash former executive, known to lash out at journalists and critics on Twitter, was arrested in December and accused of defrauding investors in hedge funds he ran and using $11 million in Retrophin assets to pay them off.

In a new indictment filed Friday, he is also accused of secretly hiding his control of unrestricted stock in the company, which prosecutors allege he used to help satisfy his debts.

While CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli rose to infamy last year when the company raised the price of a rare treatment for a potentially deadly infection by more than 5,000 percent.

Although the criminal case has nothing to do with the price increase, Shkreli has said he was targeted by prosecutors because of his notoriety.

Speaking outside the courthouse following a short hearing, Brafman told reporters that he doesn't think the new charge "adds anything of value" to the government's case.

Shkreli and Greebel are scheduled to appear in court again on July 14.

- Bloomberg

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