Hague barber recalls time with Wu-Tang Clan & Most Hated Man in America

Members of the Wu-Tang Clan performing at Budapest Park. July 7, 2015
Members of the Wu-Tang Clan performing at Budapest Park. July 7, 2015Derzsi Elekes AndorWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Gerson Heiland, a 37-year-old barber from The Hague, has come forward with the story of how he sold a CD, the only copy ever recorded, to an infamous US pharmaceutical company owner for around 1.5 million euros back in 2016. In an interview with the newspaper AD from Tone's Barbershop, Heiland recounted how the remarkable story unfolded.

The CD, the only one of its kind, was handed over to Heiland in the nineties by the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan as a gesture of gratitude for having assisted the group in a business capacity. "Some members of the Wu-Tang Clan decided to release the most expensive album of all time. I helped them as an advisor and investor. 'Once upon a time in Shaolin' is the name of the CD. It was made in secret and only one copy exists," explained Heiland.

Wu-Tang Clan, widely considered one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time, have released four gold and platinum studio albums since they launched onto the scene in 1992. According to Heiland, his association with the group took place during their formative years, while they were still relatively unknown.

According to Heiland, the Wu-Tang Clan's CD remained stored away inside a safe until 2016, when it was sold for 1.5 million US dollars to a wealthy pharmaceutical company owner. "That was Martin Shkreli, whom I met a few times. He was called the 'Most Hated Man in America' when he made the drug Daraprim very expensive, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. At the office of his lawyer, on behalf of the Wu-Tang Clan, I handed him the CD in a silver box. I was wearing white gloves. It was mysterious and unique," recounted Heiland.

Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and former CEO of pharmaceutical giant Retrophin, was later convicted by a federal court in the US of securities fraud and sentenced to seven years behind bars in 2018.

According to Heiland, Shkreli's arrest came just one day after he had handed over the CD to Shkreli. "The fact that Shkreli was arrested a day later on suspicion of fraud by the FBI only makes the story even more insane. He has been convicted and is in prison for seven years. Nobody knows where that CD is now," he said.