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直播自已出庭受审,最招人恨CEO何以如此嚣张?

2017年08月10日

这位巴尔干移民的后代被当庭揭穿了谎言,但他毫不在意。

不用等陪审团最终裁定,有一项罪名马丁·什克雷利肯定跑不掉了:一级厚颜无耻罪(此处借鉴了美国司法中的一级谋杀罪说法,一级谋杀罪较二级谋杀罪严重,包括预谋杀人,过失导致多人死亡等情况——译注)。

近日,前生物科技公司首席执行官什克雷利因涉嫌证券诈骗出庭受审,联邦检察官当场戳穿了他一桩谎言。什克雷利总是吹嘘哥伦比亚大学的学历,然而哥大一位行政人员出庭作证称,他根本不是本校毕业生。

到这种时候,大部分被告都会气焰全消。但什克雷利是例外。当天晚些时候,他照样登陆Facebook玩个人直播,还对批评者出言不逊。

当天直播时,什克雷利端怀里抱着自己的猫,明明在法庭上被指控欺骗投资者,他还在给观众投资建议。而最令美国政府愤怒的可能还不是他大话连篇,而是他身上的衣服:一件哥伦比亚大学的T恤。

什克雷利堂而皇之地直播还不是最过分的,之后的宣判也让人大掉眼镜。7月28日,被BBC称为“美国最招恨的”什克雷利被判犯有三项证券和通信诈骗罪,另外五项指控都没成立。

这次审判耗时一个多月,简直是一场吸引眼球的大戏。什克雷利34岁了但还像个大男孩,受审内容主要涉及“制药大亨”的种种行为。什克雷利最有名的就是创立了图灵制药公司。执掌公司期间,他曾得意洋洋地大幅提高一款救命药品价格。

不过人们很容易忘记什克雷利真正的罪行:欺骗对冲基金客户,使客户蒙受巨大损失。起诉书称他从自己成立的另一家医药公司——Retrophin Inc.窃取1100万美元,用来补偿对冲基金客户。但对于这一指控,陪审团并未认定他有罪。检察官称什克雷利的做法是一场庞氏骗局,如同抢一家银行还另一家银行的账。

“这就是一场大型的迫害活动,他们可能找到了一些莫须有的所谓罪证,但到最后本案最重要的指控都没成立。”法庭宣读判决后,什克雷利跟辩护律师团一起,笑着对法院外的记者说。

正如什克雷利的辩护律师反复指出的,本案里没有受害者,至少到最后也没找出几个。虽然对冲基金投资者不得不等几个月甚至几年才能拿回本金,但都赚了钱,有些还赚了不少。Retrophin的股东也不例外。律师一直想把什克雷利打造成不走寻常路的天才形象。

“他当首席执行官是不太称职。没错,是有点疯狂。” 什克雷利的一位律师本杰明·布莱福曼在结案陈词中如是说。布莱福曼说,什克雷利跟亲近的人总是有些疏离感,可他“行事太出人意表,所以人们需要他。可能看起来他是有点疯,可你就是需要他。”

虽然今后可能面临长达20年的铁窗生活,但什克雷利跟之前少数被判入狱的美国企业首席执行官比还是有些不一样。之前的高管通常能隐瞒多年,直到骗局败露,投资者、员工,有时是整个国家经济蒙受巨大损失后才会获刑,败露之前企业经营一般顺畅,甚至业绩平平,骗子们日子过得都很滋润。例子不少,可以请回想下美国史上最大庞氏骗局的制造者伯纳德·麦道夫,以及安然集团的前首席执行官杰弗瑞·斯基林。

毋庸置疑,什克雷利获罪主要源于很长时间以来太多人讨厌。辩护律师和他本人都说,要不是太臭名昭著,他不会被告上法庭。法律专家也同意这种说法。

康奈尔大学法律系教授罗伯特.C.霍克特指出,外界一直在曾指责美国司法部,企业高管大范围诈骗酿成2007年金融危机后却未追究责任。他说,由于资源受限,检察官在调查不知能否推进案件时,往往将“道德崩坏”当成重大突破口。

霍克特称:“积极追查什克雷利之类臭名昭著、广为人厌的人,可以表现出检察机关的郑重态度。”

美国时代精神

唐纳德·特朗普出任美国总统刚满六个月,什克雷利就敏锐抓住了当前的美国精神。如检察官所说,他夸夸其谈,目中无人,公然政治不正确,无视社会秩序,却擅长运用社交媒体吸引一批追随者,俨然千禧一代版的特朗普。只是有一点跟特朗普不一样,他用不了Twitter,原因是之前骚扰一名女记者。

就在陪审团开始审议当晚,什克雷利又向之前投诉他的Teen Vogue杂志专栏作者劳伦·杜卡发起攻击。之前正是因为杜卡投诉,他的Twitter账号才会被封。

“贱人们听好了,明天就会宣判。如果无罪释放,我就上了劳伦·杜卡。” 什克雷利扬言。

本世纪初什克雷利就成了穷奢极欲的代表人物,跟上世纪80年代内幕交易丑闻的主人公——金融家伊凡·博斯基差不多。什克雷利曾豪掷200万美元,只为买纽约著名嘻哈音乐组合“武当派”的一张专辑。对于将治疗弓形虫病药物达拉匹林的售价抬高50倍,他丝毫没有表示自责,还吹嘘说如果有另一种药也能这么赚钱,他还会这么干。遭到美国国会痛斥后,他骂国会参议员是一群“蠢材。”

媒体推波助澜

什克雷利的审判仿佛给纽约市的各家小报打了一针兴奋剂。《纽约邮报》的头条是“庭上宣读‘制药大亨’和男同性恋投资者的色情电邮”,《每日新闻》标题则写着:“ ‘制药大亨’案太恶心,候选陪审员都受不了。”还有记者从荷兰远道而来,就为了去纽约布鲁克林围观庭审。

别看现在有诸多出格的行为,什克雷利其实成长在一个工人家庭,父母是来自阿尔巴尼亚和克罗地亚的移民。在布鲁克林出生后,他上了公立大学Baruch College。19岁那年,他在一家对冲基金做实习生。

他父亲是个门卫,这次审讯期间从未缺席,每天都坐在法庭后排专门留给被告亲友的地方。有时听到证人和检察官指责他的儿子骗人,他会脱下鞋子抱住双膝。

寥寥几份文件可能足够证明什克雷利对投资者的欺骗行为。他自称成功的华尔街基金经理,管理高达1亿美元资产。可银行记录显示,他的一个基金净值只有-0.33美元,规模也从未超过300万美元。他还说,基金业绩超过标普500指数,实际上已经巨亏,投资者血本无归。

文件记录

审讯书面文件显示,什克雷利用对冲基金的资金成立了Retrophin,主要开发治疗罕见致命疾病的药物。然后,他私自动用Retrophin的股份补贴出现亏损的对冲基金投资者。有几年时间里,什克雷利靠这招能补上客户的损失,有些人赚了数千美元,其中有些甚至赚了上百万美元。

什克雷利卖Retrophin股份时作价低于3美元出手,而且附加很多限制使得很难卖掉。不过,Retrophin上市后股价立即飙涨,2015年8月曾涨至每股36.10美元,现在市价还在20美元左右。

随着Retrophin发展壮大,什克雷利变得更颐指气使。审讯期间陪审团才得知,他曾如何威胁惹怒他的员工家人。他曾给一位证人的妻子发信,信中写道:“我要亲眼看你和你的五个孩子无家可归,而且会不惜一切代价说到做到。你丈夫太傲慢,气死我了,他和我做对是大错特错。”

虽然Retrophin的董事会赞同什克雷利的经营理念,但还是免去了他的首席执行官一职,称他缺乏领导技巧,无法掌管复杂的企业。他在Twitter上脏话连篇也不适合做一家上市公司的首席执行官。尽管如此,什克雷利还在威胁他人。

“他对我说,我会被无休止的官司缠身,家人也会因为我们受罪。”接替什克雷利任首席执行官的史蒂夫·阿瑟拉格在证人席上这样说。

“勾引”

检察官称,什克雷利曾为了接近一位男同性恋投资人随意“勾搭”男性。那位同性恋投资人说,他和什克雷利在往来电邮中互称“爱你”。该投资人问什克雷利有没有感觉到爱意时,他矢口否认。而辩方律师列举了另一些作证的电邮称,是该投资人想利用什克雷利。

最终,什克雷利只选择了一个比较正常的决定:和大部分白领被告一样,他并未出庭,以防言辞被原告当作把柄。

经过交叉质询,什克雷利的律师布莱福曼和马克·阿格尼法罗拼命展示他的另一面:勤奋工作,自学成为生物化学家,是个神童。

审讯中,陪审员听到检控方的证人一遍遍强调,说什克雷利“像个交易机器”,“是我共事过的最聪明的家伙”,“一个空想家”,“聪明绝顶”。

投资者给什克雷利起了一个绰号“雨人”,来自荣获1988年奥斯卡奖的同名影片。片中达斯汀·霍夫曼扮演的主人公患有自闭症,但记忆力超强。什克雷利会日以继夜地一心扑在目标市场上。证人们说,成立Retrophin期间,他每天连轴转,把睡袋放在办公室里,不管身体健康,也顾不上维持个人卫生。

什克雷利讥讽检控方是“二线队伍”之后,法官警告他不准在法庭内外公开谈论本案。

于是,什克雷利想尽各种方式表达观点。他听到赞许就眉开眼笑,冲着父亲眨眼示意。他感觉案件进展顺利时会保住双臂,扬起眉毛,朝记者微笑。他一直对负面报道反应激烈。这次,他又找到了新方法向记者们表达他的不快:吐舌头。从中也能看出他对传统的不屑态度。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

Long before jurors reached their verdict, Martin Shkreli was guilty on at least one count: gall in the first degree.

During his securities-fraud trial, federal prosecutors nailed the former biotech chief executive for one of his many lies. Shkreli liked to brag he was a Columbia University alum. On the stand, an administrator said he most certainly wasn’t.

Most would shrink into their seats. Not Shkreli. Later that day, he took to his popular Facebook Live Stream and hurled obscenities at critics.

As he sat holding his cat Trashy on his lap, the man accused of lying to his investors offered, of all things, investment advice. But what might have infuriated the government most of all wasn’t anything he said. It was what he was wearing: A Columbia T-shirt.

And worse was yet to come, as the trial reached its conclusion. Shkreli -- described by the BBC as “the most hated man in America" -- was convicted of three counts of securities and wire fraud on 28th ,June. He was acquitted of five other charges.

The trial ran more than a month and resembled a circus. It often seemed the boyish 34-year-old was being tried mostly for his behavior as the so-called “Pharma Bro.” He is best known as the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, where he gleefully spiked the price of a life-saving drug.

It was easy to forget his actual crime: Lying to his hedge-fund clients about their steep losses. He was accused of repaying them by stealing $11 million from Retrophin Inc., another medical company he founded -- a charge the jury didn’t buy. Prosecutors described it as a Ponzi scheme or robbing one bank to repay another.

“This was a witch hunt of epic proportions,” a smiling Shkreli, flanked by his lawyers, told reporters outside court after the verdict was read. “Maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case.”

As his defense lawyers repeatedly pointed out, no one seemed to be harmed, at least not at the end. Though hedge-fund investors had to wait months or years for their funds, they ultimately made money -- in some cases, quite a lot. So did Retrophin shareholders. His attorneys sought to portray Shkreli as unorthodox but brilliant.

“He’s not the proper CEO. Yes, he’s a little bit nuts,” one of his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman, said in closing arguments. He alienated people close to him, but he was “so overwhelmingly impressive, you need him. You think he’s a little crazy. But you need him.”

Facing a prison term of up to 20 years, Shkreli stands out in the annals of the few American CEOs turned convicts. His fellow crooks prospered for years because of their corporate smoothness, even blandness, and were held to account only after their schemes collapsed, leaving investors, employees, and -- in some cases, the economy -- devastated. Think Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Enron Corp.’s Jeffrey Skilling.

Arguably, Shkreli went down largely because so many found him so obnoxious for so long. Shkreli’s defense -- and the man himself -- said he wouldn’t have been targeted except for his notoriety, and legal experts tend to agree.

Robert C. Hockett, a Cornell University law professor, said the U.S. Justice Department is still smarting from criticism that it didn’t hold top executives accountable after the widespread fraud leading to the 2007 financial crisis. With limited resources, prosecutors also often factor in “extreme moral turpitude” as a “tie-breaker” in cases where it’s not clear whether to move forward, he said.

“Zealously pursuing a notorious and widely loathed character like Shkreli offers a great deal of bang for the buck where demonstrating prosecutorial seriousness is concerned,” Hockett said.

American Zeitgeist

Six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Shkreli captured the zeitgeist of America. Like a millennial version of Trump, he was bombastic, defiant, politically incorrect, indifferent to social norms -- and, according to prosecutors, the truth -- while his expert use of social media attracted a legion of followers. Unlike Trump, he was banned from Twitter after harassing a female journalist.

And on the eve of the jury getting the case to start deliberations, Shkreli went on another tirade, targeting Lauren Duca, the Teen Vogue columnist whose complaint got him banned from Twitter.

“Trial’s over tomorrow, bitches. Then if I’m acquitted, I get to f--k Lauren Duca,” he said.

Shkreli came to symbolize runaway greed and excess in the early 21st century much as financier Ivan Boesky did in the insider-trading scandal of the 1980s. Shkreli paid $2 million for a Wu-Tang Clan album and expressed no remorse about raising the price of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent, bragging he’d do so again if he could find another medicine to exploit. Excoriated by Congress, he then called U.S. senators “imbeciles.”

Tabloid Fodder

The trial was catnip for the city’s tabloids. “‘Pharma Bro’s’ steamy emails with gay investor read in court,” declared one headline in the New York Post, while the Daily News offered: “Potential jurors in ‘Pharma Bro’ trial too disgusted to serve.” Reporters from as far away as the Netherlands showed up in Brooklyn to watch the proceedings.

For all his over-privileged behavior, Shkreli grew up in a working-class family of immigrants from Albania and Croatia. Born in Brooklyn, he attended public Baruch College and first worked at a hedge fund as a 19-year-old intern.

His father, a janitor, never missed a day of trial. He could be found sitting in the same spot in the back row of the courtroom, the one reserved for friends and family. Sometimes he would take off his shoes, hug one knee and listen as witnesses and prosecutors called his son a liar.

The driest of documents could have been enough to prove that Shkreli lied to investors. Shkreli claimed to be a successful Wall Street money manager overseeing as much as $100 million. But bank records showed that one fund fell to minus 33 cents and never had more than $3 million. He said the fund outperformed the S&P 500 stock-index, when it actually posted disastrous losses, leaving investors with next to nothing in their accounts.

Paper Trail

The paper trail revealed that Shkreli was using hedge-fund money to build Retrophin, which developed drugs for rare and deadly diseases. He then secretly compensated investors for their losses with Retrophin shares. In some cases, it took years to make his clients whole. Still, they made thousands of dollars -- some even millions.

Shkreli handed out shares in Retrophin that he valued below $3, and that had restrictions making them difficult to sell. Still, once the company became public, shares surged and traded for as much as $36.10 in August 2015. They still fetch about $20.

As Retrophin prospered, Shkreli nevertheless became even more abusive. The jury heard how he threatened the families of employees who crossed him. “I hope to see you and your 5 children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure that,” he said in one letter that he mailed to the wife of one of the witnesses. “Your husband’s arrogance is infuriating and making an enemy out of me is a huge mistake.”

While Retrophin’s board valued Shkreli’s ideas, they removed him as CEO, saying he lacked the leadership skills to run a complex business, and his abusive Twitter comments were inappropriate for the CEO of a public company. Even then, the threats continued.

“He told me I’d be subjected to unremitting litigation and my family would suffer as a result of our actions,” Steve Aselage, his successor, said on the witness stand.

‘Hooking Up’

Prosecutors said Shkreli made comments about “hooking up” with random men in an attempt to get close to a gay investor, who said he and Shkreli would sign email exchanges “love you.” When the investor asked Shkreli if he felt any attraction, the CEO said no. The defense produced emails they said were proof that the investor was trying to take advantage of their client.

Ultimately Shkreli made only one conventional legal decision: Like most white-collar defendants, he didn’t take the stand because his words could’ve been used against him.

Through their cross examination, his attorneys Brafman and Marc Agnifalo highlighted another side of Shkreli, the hard-working, self-taught biochemist and whiz kid.

Here, jurors heard raves from the prosecution’s own witnesses. He “trades like a machine,” was “the brightest intellect I’ve ever run into,” “a visionary” and “stunningly smart.”

Investors nicknamed him “Rain Main” after actor Dustin Hoffman’s autistic savant character in the 1988 Academy-Award winning film. Day and night, he would focus on a single market. While building Retrophin, witnesses said, Shkreli would work around the clock with a sleeping bag in his office, often at the expense of his health and his hygiene.

After he derided prosecutors as the “junior varsity,” the judge warned him to stop talking about the case around the courthouse.

So, Shkreli made his views known in other ways. He beamed when he heard praise. He winked at his father. He wrapped his arms around himself, raised his eyebrows and smiled at reporters when he thought the case was going well. Always a fierce critic of negative coverage, he managed to convey his displeasure to journalists in a way that best summed up his attitude toward convention. He stuck out his tongue.

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