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Pharma bad-boy Shkreli quits Turing after fraud charges

NEW YORK: Reviled US pharmaceutical and hedge fund figure Martin Shkreli resigned as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals on Friday, a day after his arrest on fraud charges, the company said Friday.

“We wish to thank Martin for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research-focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Ron Tilles, who was appointed as Turing interim chief executive, said in a statement.

US police officials arrested Shkreli on Thursday and charged him with a brazen fraud scheme in which he lied to investors, moved money between investments to cover losses in other vehicles and siphoned off cash for personal expenses.

The allegations concern Shkreli’s activities from 2009-2014 at another company and two hedge funds, prior to his career at Turing.

On Thursday, Turing released a statement that said the allegations against Shkreli “are personal and have no bearing on Turing Pharmaceuticals.”

Shkreli denied the charges in court and was released after posting $5 million bond.

Shkreli, 32, rose to infamy earlier this year after he, as founder and CEO of Turing, bought rights to toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim and promptly raised the price from $13.50 a tablet to $750.

The move — and Shkreli’s arrogant response to the controversy — was angrily denounced by US politicians, including Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Acting chief Tilles, who is also Turing’s chairman, vowed to make Daraprim affordable.

“We remain committed to ensuring that all patients have ready and affordable access to Daraprim,” he said. “Turing Pharmaceuticals is poised for great success in the coming years.”

Shkreli, who has built a heavy presence on social media, chatted with viewers and played Internet chess in a livestream broadcast Friday afternoon.

“Thanks for your support,” Shkreli told some 800 viewers on the Youtube broadcast. “I can’t talk about the allegations.”

Shkreli is also chief executive of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, which has not commented on his arrest. Shares of KaloBios remained suspended Friday for the second day in a row.

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