'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli sentenced to seven years in US prison

Shkreli was sentenced for defrauding investors in two botched hedge funds

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli sentenced to seven years in US prison

Martin Shkreli. Picture by: Seth Wenig/AP/Press Association Images

Martin Shkreli has been sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors in two botched hedge funds.

The former drug company executive - dubbed "Pharma Bro" and vilified for increasing the prices of a life-saving drug - was also fined $75,000 (€61,000) by a court in New York.

Shkreli cried as he apologised to investors and told the judge he had made mistakes.

He said: "I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me. I took down Martin Shkreli.

"I am terribly sorry I lost your trust," he said. "You deserve far better."

Prosecutors had described the 34-year-old as a master manipulator who duped investors, and were calling for a 15-year sentence.

They said he deserved a stiffer sentence not because he is "the most hated man in America", but because he is a criminal convicted of serious fraud.

In 2015, Shkreli hit the headlines after defending his decision to increase the price of Daraprim, a cheap drug for treating HIV, by 5,000%.

When questioned about the price hike by Congress a few months later he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, only to tweet after the hearing that the politicians were "imbeciles".

Shkreli was later thrown of Twitter after apparent 'targeted harassment' of a female journalist, and caused controversy by making speeches with the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.