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Ex-CEO who jacked up drug price is subpoenaed by Congress

Martin Shkreli (C), pictured on December 17, 2015, threatened to edit out contributions on "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" by Ghostface Killah after the Wu-Tang member insulted him (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

Washington (AFP) - Martin Shkreli, the controversial former pharmaceuticals boss and hedge fund manager indicted on securities fraud charges, has been subpoenaed to appear before Congress next week, committee officials said Wednesday.

Shkreli is due to testify Tuesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on prescription drugs and drug pricing.

"A subpoena was issued to Mr. Shkreli," a committee aide told AFP.

Shkreli resigned as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals last month, one day after his arrest on charges that he conducted a brazen fraud scheme in which he lied to investors, moved money between investments to cover losses and siphoned off cash for personal expenses.

A representative of the former CEO has said Shkreli expects to be cleared of all charges and fully vindicated.

Shkreli became a reviled figure in September when Turing acquired a decades-old, life-saving treatment used by malaria and HIV patients, Daraprim, and unapologetically jacked up the price by more than 5,000 percent overnight.

Howard Schiller, interim chief executive of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which is also under scrutiny for its drug pricing practices, and Turing's chief commercial officer Nancy Retzlaff are also scheduled to testify.

Shkreli, 32, meanwhile seemed to be trolling members of Congress Wednesday on Twitter, posting a photograph of his subpoena under his comment: "Found this letter. Looks important."

The issue of pharmaceutical price-gouging has been taken up by some of the 2016 presidential candidates, including Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who blasted Shkreli in September for hiking the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill.