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Convicted ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli wants early release to work on coronavirus cure

Lawyers for Shkreli, who is in federal prison, claim he has “devoted countless hours” to researching a cure.

Lawyers for “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli asked a federal judge Wednesday to release him from prison so he can help find a cure for COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus, court records show.

The documents, filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., say Shkreli, 37, has “devoted countless hours” to developing a cure for the disease, which has killed nearly 45,000 people in the United States and tens of thousands more around the world.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Shkreli is serving a seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, after being convicted in 2017 on securities fraud and conspiracy charges. His lawyers asked in the filing that he be allowed to serve the rest of his term at home with an electronic monitor.

Shkreli, a former biotech CEO and hedge fund manager, had been accused of repeatedly lying about the performance of his funds and raiding his company’s assets to provide returns to investors. He first gained notoriety in 2015 after he raised the price of a lifesaving anti-parasite drug by 5,000 percent.

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Several Italian mafia bosses released from prison over coronavirus fears

Several Italian mafia bosses have been released from prison under a new coronavirus regulation, the country’s national anti-mafia prosecutor said.

Francesco Bonura, an influential boss in the Sicilian Cosa Nostra; Vincenzo Iannazzo, a member of the Ndrangheta; and Pasquale Zagaria, a member of the Casalesi clan, have now been moved to house arrest, according to Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy’s anti-mafia prosecutor.
To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus within correctional facilities, the Italian government authorized magistrates to transfer inmates who have 18 months or less in their sentences to house arrest.
Cafiero De Raho said the three men had been held under “extra isolation measures” to avoid contact with people outside the prison because of the roles they had in mafia organizations.
“Once they are sent back home, these measures are obviously no longer enforced,” the prosecutor added.

Why the mafia are taking care of everyone’s business

Organised crime is already giving food parcels to the poor in Italy and Mexico. For the cartels and syndicates, this crisis is an opportunity

Pestilence presents a moment of great opportunity for many businesses.

Consider the speed at which contracts are put out to tender to meet extraordinary needs. Consider the ability to move goods and money without all the normal checks or legal and bureaucratic protocols. Plague is a boon for the commercial class.

The art of profit is based on exploiting need, and no one has perfected that dark art better than organised crime. The Covid-19 pandemic is already demonstrating this. With their usual business acumen, criminal organisations have, in recent decades, invested in a number of companies that have turned out to be very relevant to the present crisis: multi-service businesses (catering, cleaning or disinfection), industrial laundries, transport, funeral homes, waste collection, food distribution – and the health. All of these sectors have become fundamental to our survival over recent weeks, and will probably remain so for a good while.

In Italy, police have already raised the alarm about mafia cartels’ investment in the production and distribution of “epidemic kits”, comprising masks, hand sanitiser and latex gloves. These products are today almost impossible to find, and the sudden overwhelming demand (surely destined to continue over the coming months) has caused prices to skyrocket.

For the Calabrian mafia, the ’ndrangheta, this would be familiar territory: for years it made capital investments in the pharmaceutical and healthcare products sectors. In March 2016, it was revealed that the ’ndrangheta had been working aggressively to establish itself in medical and pharmaceutical industries across Lombardy – which became Italy’s Covid-19 “Ground Zero” – even dispatching cartel operatives and their relatives to qualify in medicine, nursing and pharmacology.

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Tennessee Supreme Court to decide if Big Pharma can be sued as drug dealers


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Drug makers are pushing the Tennessee Supreme Court to block a move by state prosecutors to hold Big Pharma financially accountable for the opioid epidemic, Knox News has learned.

Tennessee’s high court has now agreed to consider whether the state’s district attorneys general can sue opioid makers Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals using a law targeting drug dealers, according to an order made public Tuesday.

The high court is also allowing a coalition of corporate and insurance attorneys representing big business — the International Association of Defense Counsel — to weigh in, the order shows.

The court’s decision to take up the appeal comes in a lawsuit filed in Campbell County — one of the hardest hit in the opioid epidemic — against the opioid makers by 8th….

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War of words between Turkish mafia leaders escalates following legal reform bill

Supporters of Turkish mafia leaders have entered into a war of words following a penal reform that would release a large number of people held in Turkish prisons.

Prisoner releases have begun in Turkey after a law was passed that will see as many as 90,000 inmates set free to reduce the coronavirus pandemic’s threat to the country’s overcrowded prisons.

A notorious convicted mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, known for his close ties to Nationalist Movement Party, is among those who will enjoy the parole, according to Turkish media.

Following the reports, supporters of Çakıcı took to Twitter to threaten his rival Sedat Peker, a hard-line Turkish nationalist convicted of crimes including establishing a criminal organisation.

Çakıcı, who was a household name in the 1980s as a mob boss, was indicted in 1995 for contracting the killing of his wife in front of their son before fleeing abroad. Following his 1998 extradition from France, Çakıcı was released from prison in 2002. In 2004 Çakıcı was extradited again, this time from Austria, and has been in prison ever since, convicted of various charges including organising and leading a crime syndicate, instigating murder, and insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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