Initial Disclosure: After extensive research, we have taken a short position in shares of Enochian Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENOB). This report represents our opinion, and we encourage every reader to do their own due diligence. Please see our full disclaimer at the bottom of the report.
On May 25, 2022, Federal prosecutors announced the arrest of Enochian Biosciences co-founder and key inventor, Serhat Gumrukcu, as one of two men charged in a murder-for-hire conspiracy resulting in the death of Vermont resident Gregory Davis.
On January 7, 2018, Gregory Davis, father of 6 – with another child on the way – was found murdered in a snowbank in Barnet, Vermont. Criminal court records show that the killer, disguised as a U.S. Marshal, had gone to Davis´ home, handcuffed him and later shot him multiple times in the head and torso.
Gumrukcu’s alleged co-conspirator, Berk Eratay, works at Gumrukcu’s clinic, Seraph Medical. Like Gumrukcu, Eratay also has a past as a Turkish magician, claiming to be a master of “biokinesis” or “the ability to use kinetic energy to reprogram the genes in your own body”.
As the Department of Justice noted in its press release, if convicted, Gumrukcu and his co-conspirator face mandatory life in prison or the death penalty.
Federal prosecutors outlined Gumrukcu’s motive, describing how Davis threatened to go to the FBI alleging fraud against Gumrukcu and his brother:
“In 2017, Davis was threatening the Gumrukcus about going to the FBI with evidence that the Gumrukcus were defrauding him in a multimillion-dollar oil deal that the Gumrukcus had entered into with Davis in early 2015.”
Prosecutors made clear that in addition to avoiding criminal fraud charges, a key motive for the alleged murder plot was that Gumrukcu was in the midst of closing the merger with Enochian, and Davis’s testimony may have threatened the deal:
“That same year, 2017, Serhat Gumrukcu was putting together a successful deal that came together soon after the murder, namely, his significant ownership stake in a biotech company, Enochian Bioscience. Gumrukcu therefore had a strong motive to prevent Davis from reporting yet another fraud, and likely threatening the Enochian deal.”
Enochian responded to the indictment of its co-founder by claiming in a press release that Gumrukcu “has had no formal role in the Company” and that the incident was “completely unrelated to the Company”.
The company’s own SEC filings contradict this claim. Enochian makes clear in its most recent annual report that it heavily relies on Dr. Gumrukcu and his network of privately-owned consulting companies:
“Many of the techniques utilized in the development of our product candidates have been developed by Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu, and we rely on the services of Dr. Gumrukcu, and of G-Tech Bio LLC and SRI, in the continued development of our pipeline. Our future performance will depend on our ability to retain the services of Dr. Gumrukcu, G-Tech Bio LLC, and SRI.” [Pg. 20]
As we will show, the company has been aware of “Doctor” Serhat Gumrukcu’s criminal past and is undeniably deeply threaded to him.
What follows is our research into Gumrukcu and Enochian, an expansive international investigation compiled over the course of months and encompassing thousands of documents and dozens of sources.
Enochian Biosciences (NASDAQ:ENOB) is a biotech company with a pipeline of prospective vaccines and treatments for HIV, Cancer, Hepatitis B, COVID and influenza, along with other potential groundbreaking “miracle” treatments.
The company’s pipeline is entirely preclinical, meaning it is very early-stage, with no revenue. With only $11 million in cash on hand, a ~$4.2 million quarterly cash burn rate, and $7 million in near-term notes payable, the company will need to raise significant capital to even attempt to advance its pipeline. [Pgs. 2, 7] The company recently filed a prospectus announcing its intention to raise up to $100 million.
For perspective, companies usually take about 10 years to move a drug from discovery to approval and then distribution in the marketplace. Clinical trials alone often take upwards of six to seven years.
Despite this, Enochian’s market cap soared to ~$600 million in November 2021. Prior to us publicly identifying last week that Gumrukcu had been arrested in a murder-for-hire conspiracy, its market cap had settled around $320 million. The company still ended last week with a $235 million market cap.
One explanation for the company’s historical valuation and general excitement had been the glowing biography and credentials of Enochian’s co-founder, star scientist, and single largest shareholder (who owns 32% of the company), Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu.
Dubbed Enochian’s “inventor,” Dr. Gumrukcu’s research serves as the foundation for much, if not all, of Enochian’s therapeutic pipeline. The company disclosed as recently as January 2022, in a shareholder letter penned by its CEO, that “…the ideas behind Enochian BioSciences’ pipeline come from the inventor, Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu…”
In April 2017, Enochian Biosciences (then known as DanDrit Biotech) hired Gumrukcu as a consultant to help improve the efficacy of its flagship pipeline candidate, a potential cancer vaccine. [Pg. 1]
Dr. Gumrukcu determined that DanDrit’s product was worthless. Tech executive Rene Sindlev, who eventually took over as the company’s Chairman, later said Dandrit’s product “couldn’t be given away.”
Instead, Gumrukcu introduced Sindlev and the DanDrit team to his HIV research, which the company embraced.
In January 2018, DanDrit Biotech was officially reborn as Enochian Biosciences after acquiring Dr. Gumrukcu’s secret “stealth mode” HIV research through a merger with a privately-owned company controlled by Dr. Gumrukcu and his husband, giving them 50% of the combined company. [Pg. 8]
The merger agreement disclosed that Dr. Gumrukcu was the “sole inventor of all Company IP Rights and Company Technology and did not acquire or derive any portion of Company IP Rights or Company Technology from any other Person”. [Pg. 25] It was later reported that Dr. Gumrukcu was “behind key parts of all five HIV drugs” in Enochian’s pipeline.
When Enochian executives were invited to ring the closing bell at Nasdaq in Dec. 2018, its then-CEO, in a short address, twice referred to Gumrukcu as the company´s “scientific founder”.
From July 2018 to April 2021, Enochian licensed intellectual property or entered into consulting agreements with Gumrukcu-controlled entities related to HIV, cancer, Hepatitis B, influenza and Covid-19. As of today, it appears that every therapy in Enochian’s pipeline stems from the work of Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu.
As stated above, Enochian also makes it clear in its own SEC filings that it heavily relies on Dr. Gumrukcu and his network of privately-owned consulting companies. [Pg. 20]
Enochian has touted its preclinical pipeline at numerous conferences over the last few years. Regardless of whether these presentations relate to Hepatitis B, Cancer, HIV, or COVID-19, Dr. Gumrukcu always seems to be the individual running the show and controlling the presentation of data.
Gumrukcu’s appearances at these conferences have been cited by other doctors who have provided glowing quotes about Enochian and Gumrukcu used in a January 2022 shareholder letter and in some cases reused as recently as yesterday.
As we show later, many claimed supporting doctors have begun to back away, or have outright alleged that Gumrukcu forged or exaggerated their support.
Enochian’s CEO, Mark Dybul, has called Dr. Gumrukcu a “rare genius” that is “not bound by scientific discipline or dogma.” [Pg. 2] Elsewhere, Dybul has said Gumrukcu has “brilliant scientific ideas.” Rene Sindlev, Enochian’s chairman, offered even higher praise, comparing Dr. Gumrukcu to some of the most impressive thinkers in human history.
“Hold on tight to your shares. Our researcher and inventor is the biotech world’s answer to Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Page. People close to him compare him to Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla and Einstein in one and the same person.”
Like many we spoke with, Sindlev later acknowledged to us that he relied on others to validate Gumrukcu’s credentials and expertise, saying, “I met Serhat in 2016 because I was impressed by his science and I´m happy to say I have no clue about science”.
In researching Dr. Gumrukcu’s background, it is easy to understand where this praise comes from. Based on earning an M.D. and several PhDs before the age of 30, his academic pedigree alone would be extremely impressive.
Dr. Gumrukcu’s list of claimed accomplishments spans far beyond academia. He claims he volunteered for organizations like UNESCO, worked as a licensed doctor in Turkey, started a non-profit, and is a member of a wide range of prestigious medical associations and committees, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Gumrukcu also describes himself as an “exceptional tango dancer,” a martial artist, and a psychonaut, interested in altering consciousness through the use of psychedelics.
In a November, 2021 podcast interview, Gumrukcu claimed his pre-clinical-stage COVID-19 drug, which hasn’t even reached phase 1 trials, will both treat and prevent “any [current] variant or coronavirus strain” as well as “any variant the virus will mutate into” in the future. [1:18:20]
If true, this would likely make Enochian one of the most valuable companies on the planet – especially considering Gumrukcu’s claim that he was somehow hoping to have the drugs submission approved by the FDA within months, despite it having yet to undergo any trials. [1:19:00]
In the same interview, Gumrukcu explained that he has a “more-than-photographic” memory, which allowed him to teach himself how to read at just 3 ½ years old and learn to speak 9 languages. [16:05]
Further, he discussed his ability to bypass innate human bias and run scientific experiments in his mind with a high degree of accuracy. [37:00]
In collaboration with journalists and investigators in Russia, Denmark, Turkey, and the United States, we conducted an extensive review of Gumrukcu and his colleagues’ activities over the last 25 years.
We spoke with Gumrukcu’s magician mentor, old teachers, former classmates, business partners, and patients. We contacted many of the organizations that Gumrukcu claims to be associated with, including the universities where he claims to have earned multiple degrees. We have also spoken with many of the victims of Gumrukcu’s financial and medical crimes – several of whom seem oddly enraptured by him.
We have concluded that Gumrukcu’s claimed background is virtually a complete lie. Far from a highly credentialed scientist, Gumrukcu’s career is instead that of an international con artist.
Additionally, we conducted an extensive analysis of Enochian Bioscience’s financials, concluding that Gumrukcu has siphoned tens of millions of dollars in shareholder cash from Enochian to his privately-owned entities.
We also present evidence that Enochian’s top executives, including Chairman Rene Sindlev, CEO Mark Dybul and other company directors, have repeatedly come to Gumrukcu’s aid, quietly helping him fight extensive criminal charges while concealing the issues from investors.
Based on our research, it seems clear that Sindlev and Dybul have long been aware of the issues with Enochian’s “inventor,” and have become party to the massive deception.
Serhat Gumrukcu left Turkey in 2013 after a High Criminal Court issued the equivalent of a bench warrant to force him to answer criminal charges of medical fraud and deceiving a terminal cancer patient, according to the indictment and case files viewed by Turkish lawyers on behalf of Hindenburg.
The charges carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, Turkish lawyers told us.
The case, dossier no. 2013/65 is still active. Hindenburg has obtained a full copy of the case file after being granted legal permission by one of the alleged victims.
Police arrested Gumrukcu as the suspect in a fraud case on August 5, 2012, according to screenshots of a police database reviewed by Hindenburg. Gumrukcu then defied a court-imposed travel ban and fled to the United States.
Ten years later, he still hasn’t returned to Turkey to face the court. As recently as two weeks ago, on May 20, 2022, attorneys for Gumrukcu appeared before a judge and requested, again, that the court cancel Gumrukcu’s arrest warrant. The judge denied the request and the warrant remains active.
Based on notes taken by the lawyer who reviewed the “thick” indictment and case files, Gumrukcu introduced himself to the cancer patient and his friends as a medical oncologist and a shareholder of Istanbul Cerrahi Hospital.
He allegedly received $275,000 to treat the patient, Elsever Bunyatov, using mistletoe, stem cell therapy, and other treatments not available in Turkey or Azerbaijan at the time.
The patient deteriorated and had to be admitted to hospital. He later died. His actual oncologist criticized the prescribed treatment, saying that Gumrukcu was not an oncologist or a doctor and that the treatment was useless.
After hearing these comments from the oncologist, a friend of the patient pulled a gun on Gumrukcu and threatened him if he did not return the money, the notes state.
In a phone message to his brother, Gumrukcu claimed he was being held hostage, according to a Turkish lawyer who reviewed case file documents. The brother went to police and told them Serhat was a senior year medical student at Dokuz Eylul University, in Izmir, and was involved in alternative medicine practices.
There is no mention of a medical diploma or PhDs from Russia in the court documents, contrary to Gumrukcu’s later claims.
In fact, Gumrukcu stated that he dropped out at year 6 from the School of Medicine at Izmir Dokuz Eylul University as modern medicine did not satisfy him. He went abroad to study alternative medicine, according to his own statements to police following his 24-hour detention on August 5, 2012.
Based on statements and hospital records, the prosecution believe that Gumrukcu deceived the victims about his experience and medical credentials while taking advantage of them while they were in a vulnerable situation.
A hearing on May 9, 2013, resulted in the issuance of the rough equivalent to a bench warrant, requiring Gumrukcu’s arrest to ensure he defended the case. At the same time, the Court imposed a travel ban on Gumrukcu, prohibiting him from leaving Turkey.
The lawyer reviewing the case files for Hindenburg told us that Gumrukcu did not submit a written statement to the court relating to his case until October 2020. In a handwritten letter, Gumrukcu said that he “had to flee Turkey on October 26, 2013, after the plaintiffs put a gun to my head.”
In the same letter, dated October 14, 2020, Gumrukcu denied all accusations against him and claimed he had “only just found out about the case.” He also asked the court to lift the travel ban and arrest warrant against him, asking for assurances that he would not be arrested if he returned to Turkey and that he would be acquitted.
Enochian has not disclosed these prior, yet ongoing, criminal legal proceedings against its inventor and co-founder in Turkey.
(Update 6/2: A subsequent investor letter claimed Enochian’s senior leadership were completely unaware of the active criminal proceedings in Turkey until we made them aware.)
Turkish court documents include a character reference provided by Enochian CEO Dr. Mark Dybul, who described Gumrukcu as a “rare genius”. Dybul took over leadership of the company as executive vice-chairman from January 2019 before becoming CEO in July 2021.
“Dr. Gumrukcu…is a rare genius who has a tremendous potential to advance science and human development in a historical way. (…) It is not an overstatement to say he might be the most productive and impactful scientist in generations.”
Dybul went on to write that Gumrukcu, who now stands accused of plotting the murder of a father of 6, is “deeply compassionate, empathetic and approachable” whose “science emanates from his deep commitment to serve people”.
Dr. Carol L. Brosgart provided another character reference included in the Turkish High Criminal Court records. Dr. Brosgart has served as a Senior Advisor on Science and Policy for the CDC since 2011, in addition to her roles as director on Enochian’s board since December 2019 and member of Enochian’s HBV scientific advisory board. In her recommendation to the Turkish criminal court, she wrote:
“As a country we will benefit from his (Gumrukcu´s) contributions to science and medicine. And, his work could potentially offer cures to hundreds of millions of individuals living with HIV and HBV globally…I feel so fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Gumrukcu as both a colleague and a friend.”
In a phone call, Dr. Brosgart refused to explain why she failed to publicly disclose the prosecution against the Enochian co-founder and inventor and why she provided a glowing character references used in his undisclosed criminal case.
By 2015, Gumrukcu had relocated to the United States and continued to treat terminally ill patients with unapproved substances.
According to court records, a Pennsylvania family paid him over a quarter of a million dollars to treat their dying son with some of the very same substances that he used to treat the cancer patient in Turkey, including mistletoe and B-17.
The family would later sue Gumrukcu for breach of contract. Documents from the court case show unequivocally that Gumrukcu “engaged in the profession of medicine.”
As described in the court documents, from August to September 2015, Gumrukcu visited the family’s home 11 times to treat the son with B-17, imports of which were banned by the FDA in 1987, and mistletoe, which has been used as an alternative cancer therapy in the past but is currently not approved by the FDA.
During his visits, he also injected the boy’s mother with over 100 “stem cell shots” and performed leech therapy on various parts of her body, which he claimed would help alleviate symptoms brought on by her Lyme disease and diabetes.
The family paid Gumrukcu an initial $59,100. After that, he convinced the family to wire him an additional $253,000 for more treatments.
Unfortunately, those treatments never took place, as the son passed away on December 18th, 2015.
When the grieving family tried to recover the advance payment of $253,000, Gumrukcu claimed on at least three separate occasions that he would “promptly return the $253,000,” however, the family’s lawyers claimedthose promises were “false, intentionally false, and were never honored by the defendant.”
The family sued and won, as their case and the judgment of $253,000 was eventually satisfied in August of 2015.
Gumrukcu has gone on to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat other terminal cancer patients, including children, at his private clinic, Seraph Medical Institute, in California – housed in the same building as Enochian.
An eminent Danish oncologist, Dr. Karsten Nysom, has publicly described Gumrukcu as preying on a “patient group that is in the worst situation of their lives.”
Gumrukcu is listed as director of research at Seraph. The webpage entry also prominently lists his qualifications as M.D. and PhD.
There, he has either treated patients or been part of their medical team, even though his name is absent from the Medical Board of California’s online registry of physicians and surgeons licensed in the state.
We found multiple patients treated at Seraph and spoke to family members of some of them. In each case, the evidence demonstrates that Gumrukcu was intimately involved in the treatment – whether medical records listed him as the treating physician or not. All those cases are gathered at Appendix A, and we provide one instance below.
As this Facebook thread reveals, on or around February 23rd, 2020, Gumrukcu induced a Denmark-based family to come to his clinic in Los Angeles so that he could operate on their terminally ill son. To afford his fees, the family resorted to a Facebook fundraiser. Here is a photo of Gumrukcu with the boy.
In one of the family’s posts, they clearly state that a doctor from Turkey had already treated their son and was even going to operate on him. As far as we can see, the only Turkish “doctor” at Seraph Medical is Serhat Gumrukcu.
Gumrukcu’s treatments didn’t work for the boy, who tragically passed away less than two months later.
In the wake of Gumrukcu´s arrest on murder-for-hire conspiracy charges, we phoned Seraph Institute director, Dr. Phillip Musikanth multiple times and left multiple messages both with a secretary and on his cell phone. He failed to respond.
Just over six months after fleeing Turkey, in the summer of 2014, Gumrukcu went on what appears to be a white-collar crime spree.
In February 2017, California authorities alleged Gumrukcu defrauded an individual in a home flipping scheme, kited a series of checks, and finally defrauded an escrow agent in connection with a fabricated “energy trading” deal related to “contracts with Shell Oil.”
At the time, Serhat apparently claimed to be a Turkish prince, with authorities detailing that his bank account was in the name of “HRH [his royal highness] Prince Serhat D. Gumrukcu”. [Pg. 3]
Gregory Davis, victim to one of these scams, was kidnapped from his home and murdered on January 6, 2018, just 19 days before Gumrukcu was scheduled to appear in court to defend himself against fraud allegations involving a joint-venture with Davis.
As outlined in the State of California’s arrest declaration, in 2014 Gumrukcu lured an unsuspecting overseas investor into a phony house-flipping opportunity.
Authorities alleged that Gumrukcu represented himself as an already successful house-flipper – telling the investor that with a $930,000 investment, he could buy, renovate, and sell an LA home for $1.2 million.
Using fake email addresses and forged paperwork, Gumrukcu impersonated a lawyer, escrow agency, and homeowner to falsely claim to have purchased a home for renovation. Convinced, his victim wired $930,000 to Ermes LLC, a shell entity setup by Gumrukcu to facilitate the phony joint-venture.
We spoke to a source familiar with the case, who told us that Gumrukcu and his husband Anderson Wittekind used the $930,000 to “play.”
“They bought a new Porsche…a kitchen, they put in a pool, the money that they got from this guy [Ersin Akyuz], they literally used it to play. They started traveling. They went overseas.”
As outlined in a subsequent civil lawsuit brought against Gumrukcu by the investor, the victim’s lawyers claimed that the house-flipping opportunity was a “massive fraud” that never existed, and that “Gumrukcu’s fraud went so far as to fake an eventual sale of the property.”
The victim of the scheme, Ersin Akyuz, later won a $1.78 million judgment against Gumrukcu. Gumrukcu’s home was seized and sold by the Sheriff in 2016 to cover the judgment.
In April 2016, shortly after the home-flipping scam came to light, Gumrukcu kited a series of checks to himself and his shell entity, Ermes LLC, defrauding Wells Fargo out of $3,690, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors would later say that this was done “with the intent to defraud,” alleging Gumrukcu knew he didn’t have the funds to cover these checks.
The following month, Gumrukcu would engage in another check scheme, this time victimizing an escrow agent.
As described in a Declaration for Support of Arrest, in May 2016, Gumrukcu asked Quadrant Financial to act as an escrow agent for a joint-venture related to “certain contracts with Shell Oil.” He claimed he was partnered with Mode Commodities LLC, which was owned by Gregory Davis, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Gumrukcu sent 4 checks totaling $600,000 to Quadrant, asking that the money be forwarded to the third party on the other end of the deal. Trusting Gumrukcu, Quadrant wired $600,000 to the designated third party just before its bank notified them that Gumrukcu’s checks had bounced. When Quadrant attempted to call Gumrukcu, his phone had been disconnected.
By early 2017, a detective with the LAPD Major Crimes Division pieced together Gumrukcu’s schemes. The detective requested, and was granted, a warrant for Gumrukcu’s arrest for activity related to each alleged scam.
As described to us in an email from the California Attorney General’s office, Gumrukcu was arrested at his home on February 8, 2017, in a joint operation between the LAPD and the FBI.
We spoke with an individual familiar with the case, who, in turn, spoke with a neighbor who witnessed and described the arrest in real-time:
“Oh my god… The FBI has blocked off the street …There are armed guards… The place is swarming with FBI agents…Serhat is handcuffed on the street.”
The complaint was clear that authorities believed Gumrukcu wasn’t someone caught in an unfortunate situation or facing a business deal gone bad.
Instead, according to the complaint, he committed “related felonies, a material element of which was fraud and embezzlement, which involved a pattern of related felony conduct.”
Just 2 months after his arrest on over a dozen felony charges, while his criminal case was ongoing, Enochian engaged ‘Gumrukcu Health LLC’ in April 2017, to consult on the efficacy of the company’s cancer vaccine, per the company’s SEC filings. [Pg. 7]
According to emails with the California AG, Gumrukcu was arraigned in October 27, 2017, and pled not guilty. He would later appear on January 25, 2018 to accept a guilty plea on one of the felony counts, with the remaining accounts dismissed in light of the plea.
Gregory Davis was murdered 19 days before that pivotal hearing.
As described by the DoJ, on January 6th 2018, Gregory Davis, Gumrukcu’s business partner in the oil trading venture and a father of 6 children, was kidnapped from his Vermont home by someone claiming to be a U.S. Marshal. The man drove Davis away from his home, shot him, and left his body in a snowbank.
On May 25th 2022, the Department of Justice announced that Serhat Gumrukcu was arrested for allegedly conspiring to commission the murder.
We spoke with a relative of Gregory Davis who confirmed that Davis knew Gumrukcu, but that he hadn’t known him for very long when they went into business together. The relative also told us that Davis’ wife had a 7th child on the way at the time of his murder.
On January 17, 2018, 11 days after Gumrukcu’s alleged murder plot was carried out, Enochian announced a merger deal with a Gumrukcu-affiliated entity that would result in the formation of Enochian Biosciences. As part of the deal, Gumrukcu’s affiliated entity, Weird Science LLC, licensed its intellectual property to the newly formed Enochian Biosciences, resulting in Gumrukcu and his related parties owning ~50% of Enochian. [Pg. 8]
Eight days later, on January 25, 2018, Gumrukcu appeared and pled guilty to one felony count of Second-Degree Commercial Burglary, per correspondence with California AG. The imposition of his sentence was suspended and Gumrukcu was placed on formal probation for 5 years. The remaining counts were dismissed in light of the plea.
The merger deal closed less than a month later, on February 16th, 2018, while Gumrukcu was a convicted felon awaiting sentencing. We asked Enochian Chairman Rene Sindlev whether he knew of the felony charges before the merger:
Hindenburg: “But of course you did know of these felony counts before the merger, right?”
Chairman Rene Sindlev: “We did.”
Hindenburg: “You did know about them?”
Chairman Rene Sindlev: “Yes.”
When asked why it was never disclosed to investors, Sindlev said court records are public.
Gumrukcu’s relationship with Enochian only expanded from there, subsequently including lucrative cash payments. Numerous Gumrukcu-related entities signed consulting deals with Enochian in February and July 2018, earning over $2.7 million in cash for various medical services. [Pg. 13]
The combined entity later went public on the Nasdaq. Gumrukcu attended the bell-ringing ceremony in New York on December 20, 2018, per pictures and video of the event. Given that he was on probation awaiting sentencing as a felon, and remained on probation until August 2020, he would have likely needed permission from his probation officer to attend.
We spoke with Serhat’s LA county-based probation officer. While circumspect, she confirmed that anyone on probation would have to apply for permission to travel outside the state and that conditions about traveling while on probation, among other probation details, could either be set by the probation officer or the court.
Company executives were aware of Gumrukcu’s legal status at the time. One former executive told us:
“[Gumrukcu] was on parole [sic]… he could not go to any conference because he could not leave California without having his parole officer [sic] (sign off on it).”
Subsequent litigation records show that Enochian has been aware of all the above. Former CFO Robert Wolfe has revealed in court records that he was fired when he asked “critical questions” about Gumrukcu and his criminal record.
He also questioned large payments to Gumrukcu or entities he controlled for “security”. SEC filings indicate that Enochian spent at least $780,015 on security expenses in 2019 alone, an odd line item for a small biotech company. [Pg. 14]
As reported by Danish media outlet Medwatch, Wolfe sued Enochian in Denmark after his termination, kicking off ongoing and back and forth litigation in both Vermont and Denmark.
Enochian’s former CEO, Eric Leire, was also terminated 2 days after Robert Wolfe, with no reason provided. [Pg. 23]
Wolfe claimed he was the victim of a “14-month long campaign of harassment” from the company’s top executives following his departure. Per court records, he claimed that Enochian Chairman Rene Sindlev, CEO Mark Dybul, and CFO Luisa Puche each “had direct involvement in this malicious prosecution” against him.
Wolfe’s lawyers said that he was terminated because he “persisted in questioning what he believed to be serious financial improprieties at the company”.
Wolfe’s latest countersuit is set to go to trial on January 17th, 2023.
As noted above, Gumrukcu’s 14-felony charge was later reduced to just one felony, per a plea deal. Then, in August, 2020, it was further reduced to a misdemeanor, according to court records.
When we contacted the California Attorney General’s office to ask how he was able to essentially get out of such a serious spate of charges, we were told that he reached a plea deal by paying $1.1 million in restitution:
“This deal was reached due to the fact that restitution in the amount of $1.1 million was paid in full to the victim prior to the plea. On August 10, 2020, defense attorney Donald Re filed a motion for termination of probation, reduction to a misdemeanor and expungement. The court granted the defense motion.” – Natasha Howard, Deputy Attorney General
Core to Gumrukcu (and Enochian’s) claims is that he is a brilliant doctor that has come up with cures, vaccines and treatments for some of the world’s most complex diseases.
But through extensive research, we have found that virtually all of Gumrukcu’s credentials—his medical degree, PhDs, and prior work and volunteer experiences are a total fabrication.
Our first major sign that something was amiss were Turkish arrest records that clearly identify Gumrukcu’s highest level of education being a high school degree. This, of course, wildly contradicts Gumrukcu’s two biographies online:
According to those biographies, Gumrukcu:
But even these claims are contradicted by the evidence Gumrukcu provides to support them.
The transcript shows Gumrukcu enrolled in September 2000 and graduated with his M.D. in June 2006 This is completely inconsistent with Gumrukcu’s own claims. Gumrukcu’s biography page on the same site claims that he was studying in Turkey until 2004.
Gumrukcu also said in a 2021 interview that he attended Turkey’s Dokuz Eylul University from 2000 – 2004 but had to “take a break” before transferring to a Russian school.
An administrator at Dokuz Eylul confirmed Gumrukcu maintained an active student registration from September 2000 until 2008, the same year the transcript shows him completing his residency in Moscow. The source told us, however, that Gumrukcu failed to complete his degree at Dokuz Eylul and that his university registration expired in June 2011 without his graduation.
We also contacted a fellow student, Dr. Fatma Başak Çoğalmış, who attended Dokuz Eylul University with Gumrukcu. She told us she completed high school with Gumrukcu, and that they both began their medical studies at Dokuz at the same time. However, Gumrukcu had attendance issues during his medical internship and didn’t graduate with her. She was adamant that he was there until around 2006.
To investigate our suspicions regarding Gumrukcu’s claimed Russian medical degree, we contacted administrators from First Moscow State, who checked Gumrukcu’s name and registration number (#12240) from the pictures of Gumrukcu’s diploma posted on his Seraph website.
We received an official response from First Moscow State confirming they have no record of Gumrukcu’s medical diploma or supposed PhD: “In the book of registration of diplomas … registration number 12240 dates 06/27/2006 in the name of Serhat Gumrukcu does not appear.”
To be sure, we had an investigator check the school’s archives in person and conduct further due diligence around Gumrukcu’s activities in Russia.
After reviewing the physical and digital archives, our investigator confirmed: “His name is not anywhere in their records… he didn’t even register.”
We also checked with the Russian national degree registry to identify Gumrukcu’s claimed medical degree. The online registry turned up no sign of Gumrukcu or his claimed credentials.
In addition to his First Moscow State M.D., Gumrukcu also claims that he earned a PhD in Medical Science from the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) in 2012. To confirm this, we consulted Russia’s RUDN PhD database. Once again, no record existed of Gumrukcu authoring or defending a PhD thesis.
Our investigator also checked with local police to learn more about Gumrukcu’s student visa. Much to our surprise, we learned that Gumrukcu had no Russia visa at all, not even a tourist visa. This indicates that he either spent a very brief time in the country or may have never been to Russia at all, let alone spent 8 years there earning multiple degrees.
Further, we checked with border police, who have records of travel dates of anyone coming in and out of the country. They too had no record of Gumrukcu having been to the country.
Our local investigator told us that purchasing fake medical diplomas from Russia is fairly common, and that one like Gumrukcu’s could be purchased for around $15,000.
Intrigued by that detail, we sought to learn more about Russia’s fake degree industry. It is still a common problem, and until recently they used to be so readily available that they were sold in subway stations, according to our investigator.
We eventually decided to purchase our own fake Russian medical degree to test the process; it was frighteningly easy. The most difficult aspect was smuggling it through a neighboring country and shipping it to the U.S. due to recent wartime export restrictions.
We are proud to announce that “Dr.” Nate Anderson, founder of Hindenburg Research, also has a (fake) M.D. from Moscow State, complete with the same date, same field of study, and same official seal, known as an apostille, that Gumrukcu boasts.
Additionally, as noted in the side-by-side comparison below, the “official seal” is identical on both degrees, showing that just about anyone can easily purchase forged medical degrees.
Gumrukcu also claims that he earned a PhD in Psychology from Ankara University (Turkey) in 2010. Given that he dropped out of his undergraduate and medical program and appears to have faked his Russian studies, we also found this claim dubious.
Ankara University wouldn’t confirm or deny Gumrukcu’s attendance without a court order, but the head of the psychology department said she and her colleagues researched the issue and had no recollection of Gumrukcu:
“We, as the professors of the Department of Clinical Psychology, do not remember this student by name…When we researched him, we came across articles stating that he was a doctor. This too can be investigated. I hope the information he gives is somehow correct.”
In a November 2019 press release filed with the SEC, Enochian claims Gumrukcu formerly worked as a physician in Turkey, licensed by the Ministry of Health:
“Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu continued his training in various institutions and started working as a physician licensed by the Ministry of Health of Turkey in 2008.”
We also examined this claim, sending an information request to Turkey’s Ministry of Health, who told us they had no records of Serhat Gumrukcu:
“To whom it may concern – As a result of the investigation of the records of the Ministry, no registration records have been found regarding the mentioned person. – For your information.”
We also checked with the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. A spokesman responded:
“According to information from senior Turkish officials, it has been determined that there is no doctor registered with this name in Turkey.”
We also reached out to the Turkish Medical Association to see if it had any record of “Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu.” In an email reply, Dr. Vedat Bulut, Secretary General of the Turkish Medical Association, said there was no record of Gumrukcu’s registration.
“As a result of the examination of our records, the record of Serhat Gumrukcu could not be found.”
In a 2021 video interview, Gumrukcu claimed to have worked for “UNESCO and other aid organizations”. The same UNESCO claim was made in this 2021 written interview. But when we contacted UNESCO, they couldn’t find any record of him, telling us:
“After verification in our books, please be informed we have no records of [Gumrukcu] in our databases.”
Danish journalists reported that Gumrukcu’s LinkedIn profile included his fellowship with the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation in 2010, the same year he allegedly earned a PhD in Turkey at Ankara University.
They fact-checked this claim by reaching out to a director at the institute. After checking her archives and asking her colleagues, she found no evidence that Gumrukcu had ever been there. A translated version of the Danish media article reads:
“Shortly after Dr. Viden sent a series of questions to Serhat Gumrukcu, however, the LinkedIn profile was changed so that St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation was no longer mentioned.”
Gumrukcu’s biography includes membership in several medical organizations, including ASCO and ASGCT, or the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.
While ASGCT confirmed he is a member, they also told us that the only prerequisite for membership is a “demonstrated professional interest in gene and cell therapy” and that they don’t check medical credentials. They also confirmed that Gumrukcu’s committee positions, which ended in May 2021, were simply volunteer positions where the primary responsibility was organizing an annual meeting.
ASCO, on the other hand, denied his membership completely, calling into question yet another of Gumrukcu’s claims. An American Society of Clinical Oncology spokesperson wrote us:
“Dr. Serhat (Daniel) Gumrukcu is not a member of ASCO. Thank you for contacting ASCO.”
In addition to likely fabricating his entire academic career, Gumrukcu has misrepresented numerous other claims about his background.
Gumrukcu, Enochian and Seraph Medical have frequently mentioned professional relationships with eminent, international doctors and researchers in an effort to piggyback on their credibility.
Dr. Peter Piot is a highly respected, British-Belgian microbiologist who previously held senior positions in the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) and is renowned for his research on Ebola and AIDS.
He was quoted as being “blown away” by “Doctor” Gumrukcu´s “brilliant creativity” as recently as January 2022, in this letter to Enochian shareholders.
“I have been working on pandemics for nearly 50 years, and was blown away by the genius of the inventor, Dr. Serhat Gumrukçu.”
We contacted Dr Piot via his office at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to ask about Gumrukcu. In email to us last week, Dr Piot said:
“I was not aware of Mr. Gumrukcu’s arrest as I don’t follow at all his work or company. Whereas I indeed had agreed to join a scientific board, I actually resigned before we ever met because of a new position I took on. I never received any compensation. I agree that retrospectively I should have done some due diligence, but it was the science that attracted me. I was not aware of any of the issues about his qualifications.”
We also spoke to Rene Sindlev, Enochian’s Chairman, after the news of Gumrukcu’s recent arrest. Sindlev insisted that Gumrukcu’s science has been validated, invoking Piot’s name to us:
“Peter Piot is a respiratory specialist. But Peter Piot is definitely one of them. He’s an expert in respiratory diseases. He has validated and he has seen science behind Covid and Carol Brosgart from our board said this is beyond a genius coming to… with such an invention.”
When we followed up with Piot and asked whether he had validated the science presented by Gumrukcu, he later wrote:
“I have never validated anything, and they should not use my name.”
He also clarified that he never authorized the use of a quote referring to the “genius” of Gumrukcu but did agree to the wording “brilliant creativity”:
“I can now confirm I asked the company not to use the word ‘genius’ but ‘brilliant creativity’. I wasn´t aware this was still on their website and will ask to remove it.”
In a November 2019 press release from Enochian, Slavin is credited with being Gumrukcu´s “mentor” and this quote, attributed to him, appears to heavily endorse Gumrukcu´s work:
“On agreeing to join the Institute’s scientific board, one of the world’s leading experts and his mentor in immuno-oncology, Prof. Shimon Slavin said, “Dr. Gümrükcü was a young Turkish post-doc with interesting ideas when I first met him eight years ago. I am looking forward to our future collaboration in developing and implementing novel cancer treatments at Seraph Research Institute.”
We contacted Dr. Slavin by phone. He seemed unaware that he was a member of Seraph Research´s scientific advisory board:
“My assistant sent me the photo that appears on the Seraph website and I see myself wearing the Seraph coat. I do not recall that picture but I see the coat was from the Seraph Institute. I was never in Seraph, never in LA and so that must be a photomontage. I never wore a Seraph coat, it´s a forgery…I feel such a fool.”
He denied he was Gumrukcu´s “mentor” and said he had met him just once, for “one or two days” in Israel about 15 years ago.
“I´ve never been there (to the Seraph Medical institute) in my life. I have seen Serhat. He came to see me in Israel about 15 years ago with a patient. He never studied under me. He came to me. The first time I met him in my life was when he came to me with a patient with multiple myeloma. I think, a Turkish patient and since then I have not seen him. I have interacted with him (via the internet).”
Dr. Slavin freely admitted he had been duped by Gumrukcu´s comments, even though he knew he was not a licensed MD in the U.S.:
“I interacted with him over email. He´s very knowledgeable when you talk to him. He seems like an expert. I knew he did not have a license in America because he told me that straight out. He sounds like an expert, there was no reason to suspect him. That was from a personal point of view, I never checked his qualifications.
In a follow-up email he also emphatically denied having validated any of Enochian or Gumrukcu´s scientific claims:
“I never visited him and never saw his facility. I never wore Seraph coat as shown in the picture, so how could I validate his science?”
In November 2019, Gumrukcu and Enochian claimed he “work[ed] under Suat Arusan,” a widely-known Turkish doctor practicing in the field of leech therapy.
Dr. Arusan died in April 2021, but we spoke to his son, Cüneyt Arusan, who adamantly denied the two had worked together. Instead, Arusan said, the two discussed Gumrukcu’s interest in spoon bending, “but he wasn’t working at our clinic and we have never worked with him.”
“We have met with him (Gumrukcu) through a friend. We met with him a couple of times and had conversations. My father found him interesting—he was bending spoons with hypnosis. My father (Dr. Suat Arusan) found it interesting and arranged for him an appearance at a TV show. But he wasn’t working at our clinic and we have never worked with him. I don’t know if he had a medical license.”
According to local magicians in Turkey we interviewed, as a youth, Gumrukcu began his career as a magician, performing standard magic tricks under the stage name “Dr. No.”
He progressed over the years to claims of mystical healing, spoon bending, firewalking, and unravelling the secrets of wellness through his mastery of “quantum and information philosophy.” Much of this new age mysticism occurred while he was supposedly earning his M.D. and PhDs in Russia.
A former longstanding executive at Enochian told us that the company “spent a lot of money to erase that. A lot of money.”
Scant evidence of Gumrukcu´s magic tricks remain online, but our investigators were able to reconstruct a more detailed picture after trawling backstreet magic shops and second-hand bookstores in the bazaars in Istanbul and his hometown, Izmir.
We turned up CDs, DVDs – some in obsolete formats that needed to be digitally unlocked.
Gumrukcu´s former magic mentor Ozlen Tuncer, known by his stage name “Dr. Tora”, discovered two grainy DVD recordings in a cardboard box in the backroom of a magic shop where he recalled his protégé had performed one of his first public shows.
Old magazine articles and ads showed that Gumrukcu was regularly doing magic performances on stage and for TV between 2001 and 2006 in Turkey. He also offered healing seminars and motivational coaching sessions up until at least 2009, also in Turkey.
Another of our contacts discovered a dog-eared copy of an illustrated interview bundled up with string with scores of other magazines in a second-hand bookstore in an Istanbul bazaar.
The extensive footage we obtained from hard-copy videos and still photographs, show Gumrukcu performing various magic shows in the early 2000s. (Note from earlier that Gumrukcu’s Russian medical degree transcripts claim he was attending school in Russia from September 1, 2000 until August 29, 2008.)
Gumrukcu split from his mentor, Ozlen Tuncer, in 2002. We interviewed Tuncer, who said he “taught him about manipulation plus how to use the brain… how to control the perception of people”.
According to Tuncer, the pair split because Gumrukcu wanted to move too fast and learn faith-healing tricks. Alas, Tuncer concluded, Gumrukcu “did not use those for good goals” and said he spent long periods in the Gulf cheating Arabs:
“I did not teach him (about cures and healing). I did not know that he knew about these things. I did not talk about it. He did not pretend to be a miracle maker with me.”
In late 2006, the Turkish esoteric magazine “Chi” published a six-page spread on Gumrukcu and his practice of spoon-bending. Chi wrote:
“[U]sing his brain power, he first bent and broke the spoons, twisting the keys in his pocket with the permission of a few people, only by looking from a distance.” 
In a now-deleted post, widely debunked “mentalist” Uri Geller described Gumrukcu’s ability to heal people with his hands, stating that he “truly possesses the healing touch.” While we don’t know exactly when this was published, the post claims that Gumrukcu was traveling around Europe using his supernatural “gift” to heal people.
A February 2008 advertisement in an alternative healing magazine shows Gumrukcu teaching courses at the Ay Education Center in Istanbul.
The advertisement reads (translated):
“Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu is an expert on quantum and information philosophy. He is a psychologist who has been granted master’s degree in these subjects. He was praised by the NYT and gives training on the essence of healing, shaping the flow at Ay Consultancy and Education Center. He will answer the questions of what energy is, how the universe works and which rules apply, where our minds and consciousness stand.”
In 2009, Gumrukcu ran seminars on firewalking in Istanbul.
Eventually, Gumrukcu’s claims went from magic, to magical healing powers, to claims of being an actual doctor capable of treating terminal diseases, which ultimately led to his arrest in Turkey and flight to the U.S.
As a pre-revenue company, every dollar that Enochian has comes from the sale of stock or debt to investors.
We estimate that $20 million has been siphoned to Gumrukcu and his various entities, based on SEC filings:
In the last 6 months of 2021 alone, Enochian paid a total of ~$3.5 million to G-Tech Bio, LLC, Gumrukcu’s privately-owned for-profit entity that is headquartered in the same building as Enochian and that has no employees on LinkedIn. [Pg. 21]
We estimate there have been approximately $20 million in total payments to Gumrukcu or entities he and his husband control since 2016.
Despite claims to have cured many of the world’s most challenging diseases, Serhat Gumrukcu seems to have plenty of time for partying.
With his husband Anderson Wittekind and friend Gregory Howell (a former TV show producer who is on the Seraph Research Institute payroll), he attends music festivals, Vegas shows, and prestigious events like the Oscars.
He parties with celebrities and even threw a fundraiser for a congressman.
For example, in late 2017, just several months after Enochian (then DanDrit) loaned one of Serhat’s entities $500,000, he went on multiple trips to Vegas with his husband and friends- including Emmy award-winning producer Cindy Cowan.
On at least one of these trips, which appears to have been for Gumrukcu’s birthday, they appear to have taken a private jet.
In February 2019, Gumrukcu was photographed at an Oscars after party.
In September 2019, he was photographed at Burning Man.
In 2021, Gumrukcu shared an Instagram post of himself together with Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren.
Earlier this year, Serhat and his husband hosted a party for Congressman Eric Swalwell.
He was also photographed at a Hollywood movie premier with supermodel Heidi Klum.
Finally, he was seen at this year’s Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar party, hosted by Lady Gaga and attended by other top celebrities.
We believe Gumrukcu’s lifestyle was completely funded by Enochian investors or unsuspecting, desperate families who wanted to believe that “Doctor” Gumrukcu could save their loved ones.
Enochian Biosciences has not disclosed any legal proceedings to shareholders, even though its executives are engaged in an active and heated legal battle with the company’s former CFO.
Further, the company has omitted Gumrukcu’s criminal track record from its SEC filings, as well as omitting the various lawsuits and criminal prosecutions that have been brought against him in the U.S. and abroad.
We believe shareholders should know if a former CFO is alleging “serious financial improprieties” and if a company’s co-founder, inventor and ‘star scientist” was a convicted felon, is a defendant in multiple lawsuits, and currently faces a criminal trial in Turkish court for medical fraud.
In a January 2020 interview with MedWatch, Mark Dybul was questioned about Gumrukcu’s apparent lack of published medical research.
After admitting that he understood the skepticism, saying it was a “reasonable question,” he made a series of vague statements about Gumrukcu’s education before comparing him to successful college dropouts Bill Gates and Albert Einstein:
“Conventional approaches are generally not where one finds unconventional geniuses: So he [Serhat Gumrukcu] got his education in Europe – Eastern Europe and Moscow – and he has worked on some very impressive [projects]. And on some very ‘impressive things and have come up with some phenomenal ideas.’”
When asked specifically about the Pennsylvania lawsuit which alleged Gumrukcu practiced medicine without a license, used banned or unapproved substances on a child who died soon after, and absconded with $253,000, Mark Dybul refused to comment.
On January 22, 2022, Enochian CEO Mark Dybul wrote an unprompted and bullish letter to shareholders in which he noted that progress in the world of biotech is “too often constrained by traditional diplomas, methodologies, and dogmas” before admitting once again that all of the “ideas behind Enochian’s pipeline come from the inventor, Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu.”
We find the defense of Gumrukcu and the timing of this letter convenient for Mark Dybul, whose ~3.7 million stock options– worth over $25 million when Enochian’s stock peaked in December 2021– became virtually worthless as the company’s share price plummeted ~65% by late January 2022.
Enochian CEO Dybul isn’t Gumrukcu’s only promoter. As noted above, Rene Sindlev, Enochian’s chairman, offered even higher praise when he compared Dr. Gumrukcu to some of the most impressive thinkers in human history.
[Translated] “Hold on tight to your shares. Our researcher and inventor is the biotech world’s answer to Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Page. People close to him compare him to Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicolas Tesla and Einstein in one and the same person.”
This may help explain why Sindlev just purchased more than 250,000 shares of stock from Gumrukcu at $8 per share on a day when the stock closed at $5.91 per share, for a total of ~$2 million, of which ~$530,000 is a premium to the market price- a significant windfall for Gumrukcu. The share transfers took place on May 18th, 2022, just 7 days before Gumrukcu was arrested on suspicion of participating in a murder plot.
This week, we spoke with Enochian´s chairman and co-founder, Rene Sindlev, as he lounged in Cannes on the French Riviera. He chatted for 49 minutes as we tried to clarify his role in enabling Gumrukcu. He seemed unphased by the allegations against Gumrukcu:
“To be honest I don´t care whether he´s guilty or not. If he´s guilty he has a huge problem and has to take his punishment for that like everybody else. And if he´s not guilty I´m happy for him. If he turns out not to be a doctor, I might not even speak to him again because then he has deceived me as well.”
One of the reasons for Sindlev’s underlying trust could be that he himself was treated by Gumrukcu.
A close personal acquaintance, who requested anonymity, told us Gumrukcu removed a “possible cancerous growth” from Sindlev’s face, prepared a schedule of chemotherapy and sent the tissue to Switzerland for analysis.
In our phone conversation, Sindlev confirmed Gumrukcu had operated on the growth in late 2017:
“Actually I have skin cancer. It relapsed after four months and he (Gumrukcu) thoroughly removed it and it has not relapsed ever since.”
Given that Gumrukcu is not an MD and not licensed to practice in the U.S. that operation may have been illegal. Sindlev declined to say where he was treated:
“That´s confidential information. So I can´t tell you about it. And I didn´t pay for it. He did that as a friendly favor.”
On the subject of Gumrukcu´s criminal record and allegations against him, Sindlev said he was unaware of the ongoing criminal prosecution for fraud against Gumrukcu in Turkey, despite the fact Enochian’s CEO and a board members provided character references used in his defense as recently as September 2020:
“No. I never heard about it…I would say if it had any significance or any seriousness I would probably have been told. I don´t know why but I will definitely look into this.”
The legal files for that case in Turkey make clear another central concern about Gumrukcu´s background – that he had no medical qualifications whatsoever, in any country.
Despite evidence gleaned from our research in multiple countries and at multiple universities, Sindlev doubled down on support for his business partner and friend Gumrukcu in our phone conversation:
“If he (Gumrukcu)is telling the world he´s a doctor and he is not then of course he has a problem. Do we as a company as Enochian have a problem with the science? I still have to admit he´s a genius whether he’s a doctor or not…Maybe that court reporter in Turkey in 2012 made a mistake. Let´s see who is right.”
In what some may consider a projection, Sindlev said of the Turkish criminal court records:
“You know those case files could be written up by ignorant people. I´ve been in front of people like this quite a few times and they write up anything they believe is right and they miss out quite a lot and so do the police.”
In addition to relying on others verify the science, Sindlev also said he relied on others for due diligence of Gumrukcu’s background. He insisted that Enochian and a Los Angeles-based attorney had carried out extensive due diligence on Gumrukcu´s credentials:
“We have asked his lawyer who is a famous well-reputable, LA lawyer to look into it. They came back to tell us and they showed us documents – his doctor´s exams papers and his double PhD, one in Turkey and one he took in Russia.”
“I cannot tell you because I don´t know I didn´t do it. I know it was a very thorough investigation. And I heard they went back to Turkey and they got, I think, his doctor´s license from whatever university he graduated from.”
We did those same due diligence checks with universities in Turkey and Russia and with medical boards in Turkey and the U.S. and came up with very different results, as detailed earlier.
In the course of our phone conversation, Sindlev seemed conflicted between distancing Enochian from Gumrukcu´s arrest over murder-for-hire allegations and defending a personal associate.
The close personal acquaintance we spoke with believes Sindlev may, in fact, harbor serious doubts about Gumrukcu´s background but has now invested too much money in Enochian to back out:
“Even if he (Sindlev) knew everything about Serhat he invested too much money to challenge him. He tried to cover as much as he could. Pretending everything was fine. I think at a certain point it was impossible not to see the reality, there was too much evidence.”
“What I understood in their relationship is that Rene kind of fell in love with him, he (apparently) never challenged was Serhat told him…Rene was almost like blindfolded or didn’t want to see the truth.”
The former senior Enochian executive we consulted, gave us further insight into what he said was the close personal and business relationship between Sindlev and Gumrukcu:
“I think Rene Sindlev is a victim of…Serhat Gumrukcu. He transferred a lot of money to him. He was his personal doctor and it’s a strange relationship… a bit like the czar of Russia (with Rasputin) …Sindlev’s wife was treated first by the guy and they believe in alternative medicine … They don’t want a doctor but a guru who fixes everything and they found it with Serhat. He ́s thriving on these kinds of people who (are) desperate.”
“(Rene) has lost so much money to keep this company afloat. They created this company and have this agreement. But the company is nothing. Just Serhat and his partner.”
A former senior Enochian executive, talking by phone, described how they left after Gumrukcu lied or failed to provide data when pressed about his supposed brilliant discoveries:
“What he was promising on the HIV project… I said it was impossible, and he said he had a secret sauce… There’s some stuff that was attractive, and he said he had a new solution and so some of the stuff he presented was making sense so it’s only when you dig further then you discover, no, that is not working… I was requesting information. It was not coming …. and I confronted him and thought … I said he’s lying.”
When the former senior executive brought up questions about Gumrukcu’s background, they said the board was “pissed” that such questions were being raised:
“I don’t even know if he’s a real doctor. I’ve seen several biographies—the first bio his medical degree was from Turkey. We never got it when we did due diligence. The board was pissed that I did such due diligence. Then he said it was Moscow… there was something like 5 different backgrounds for the guy.”
The former senior executive also described a “culture of secrecy”, where management was routinely excluded from board meetings and where employees were discouraged from asking questions, particularly about financial movements and Gumrukcu´s credentials.
“I was pushing the guy to give me data and support the claims, [but] there was this ‘no, no, no you shouldn’t bother him. The guy’s a genius, don’t bother him.’ That’s exactly what happened with Elizabeth Holmes for example—the same kind of cultural secrecy.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll deal with it at the board level”, the board told the former senior executive. He added:
“The culture (was) of a lot of yes-men on the board and secrecy. There’s no minutes of the board (meetings)…in-camera meetings with just the board no management, and there are no minutes… the company is still there promising the moon and mars and a trip to Jupiter and there are still people applauding and investing.”
Con artists can never succeed without enablers. After years of embracing Serhat Gumrukcu and celebrating him as a genius, Enochian Biosciences executives and board members are attempting to distance themselves, now that he stands accused of murdering a father of six.
But Gumrukcu’s extensive criminal issues have been known to the board and executives for years. Instead of ending the relationship, they defended him in Turkish criminal court, they showered him in cash consulting fees following his arrest on 14 felony counts, and they went on a campaign to threaten and torment a former executive that raised concerns about his criminal history.
They also made him a very rich man, giving him a share in the company worth over $100 million. To be clear, this was a two-way relationship—they got paid well along the way too.
They also draped Gumrukcu in credibility, enabling him to prey upon desperate families of terminally ill children who thought they were working with an experienced, highly credentialed doctor.
The board and executives should know by now that this firewalking fraudster hasn’t developed cures for some of humanity’s most horrible diseases. But the charade plays on as they pretend the unvalidated, un peer-reviewed science is sound, despite extensive evidence that the “inventor” is a con artist for the ages.
To the board members and executives at Enochian: You were either complicit or conned. Either way, you enabled Gumrukcu and it is now time to act. If you continue to support him and the obvious sham that this company has become through your silence, inaction, or continued outright support, it will define your character and career from this point forward.
Following our report, the company issued a brief response, calling our research “misleading propaganda about the company”. Enochian also claimed that Gumrukcu has had no formal role with the company ever since it terminated his scientific advisory role all of a week ago, after it learned of his indictment in the alleged murder-for-hire conspiracy.
Notably, while past filings and company correspondence have consistently referred to Gumrukcu as “Dr.” or “Doctor” [Pg. 9], the company’s response to our report, for the first time, dropped that prefix.
We view it as significant that the company finally seems to be tacitly acknowledging that the inventor of essentially all its supposed key breakthroughs has fabricated his education credentials and work history.
Despite the key tacit admission, in its conclusion, the company claimed that its research is conducted by unnamed independent leaders of the field and its data is “reviewed” by its scientific advisory board members:
“Enochian is built on a strong foundation of scientific research conducted independently by leaders in their fields and reviewed regularly by renowned researchers who are members of various scientific advisory boards. The science is the science, and the data are the data.”
As noted in our piece, a former senior executive of the company raised concerns about the truthfulness of data coming from “Doctor” Gumrukcu.
We are now left to wonder, given the lack of peer-reviewed findings and the company’s stated reliance on Gumrukcu for its key discoveries: how much of the company’s data came from Gumrukcu and his labs?
As noted in our piece, company executives knew about the extensive criminal allegations against Gumrukcu in California. In its response, the company suggested it was irrelevant because these were eventually reduced to a misdemeanor resulting in a fine and probation.
We find that to be an odd stance given that the founder now stands accused of murdering a victim of one of those alleged felonies.
But even if we somehow put that aside:
It was only 2 ½ years after the merger, in August 2020, that the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor.
In other words, the company knowingly worked with an admitted felon in the interim, and never disclosed that information to investors.
In our initial report, we noted that Enochian CEO Dr. Mark Dybul and Director Carol Brosgart provided glowing references for Gumrukcu.
The company claims in its response that these references, included in Turkish criminal court filings, were “provided as part of a U.S. citizenship application in 2020 without any knowledge of the Turkish case”. We have updated the piece to reflect their response.
The company also claims that Brosgart communicated with “the author” of the report and notified them that character references regarding Gumrukcu were for this purpose:
“Dr. Brosgart provided that information in writing to the author, yet his story knowingly misrepresented the purpose of the reference.”
However, we never received any such explanation. Our dated chat logs show that Brosgart did not answer our question about the Turkish court references after repeated messages.
As noted above, Brosgart only referred us to Dybul, who also did not answer any of our questions when repeatedly called and messaged. We reached out to Dybul and Brosgart numerous times requesting comment on this very question and received no explanation.
Given the above, we suspect Enochian simply lied in a desperate attempt to undermine our credibility. We have sent the company a cease-and-desist letter and intend to file suit should the company not correct its misstatement.
Family and friends set up this crowdfunding campaign to support a Chilean patient, named only as Ariel, a father-of-four who was suffering from pancreatic cancer and received treatment at Seraph. The goal was $350,000, of which only one-third had been met.
Ariel died in May 2019 but the fundraising went on, according to a message on the crowdfunding site:
“Despite all efforts and our friend, Ariel, desires to live, he is not with us anymore. Nonetheless, we keep our commitment with his memory and his family comprised of his wife and four children below 10-years old. Therefore, our campaign continues! Given that more than USD 300,000 needs to be paid to Seraph Medical, in addition of additional medical bills not contemplated. We count on you!!”
We spoke by phone to one of Ariel´s friends, who asked not to be named. He explained Ariel had received chemotherapy and blood transfusions prior to going to Seraph. Once there, the main treatment, he told us, was the infusion of “natural killer cells”, aimed at naturally supercharging the body´s autoimmune system and destroying cancerous cells.
The friend told us:
“He (Gumrukcu) was the doctor who was treating Ariel. Or he was certainly one of them treating him I don´t know if there were others.”
“I understood that the doctor of Turkish origin did not have a doctor´s qualification from the U.S. That was something they said at the time Ariel began his treatment but I remember seeing on the page that he didn´t train in the US but somewhere else.”
He said Ariel had been desperate to find a treatment and believes the name of Seraph Medical may have been mentioned by doctors in Washington D.C.
“Ariel had a pancreatic cancer that was very advanced and very aggressive and conventional treatments offered no alternative and so he went to US to look for an experimental treatment. He was on the waiting list for some famous place in Texas maybe I think and he spoke to the people at NIH in Washington and he was trying to see what options were open because time was running out and during that investigation he came up with this clinic (Seraph) which was the only option open. There are many people in similar situations and the capacity for these experimental treatments isn´t great.”
Recently, the fundraiser closer to new donations.
Sophie Ryan was diagnosed with a glioma brain tumor at just 8-1/2 months old. Her mother, Tracy Ryan, told us by phone that her daughter had suffered with a range of problems including partial paralysis and loss of vision as a result of the tumor progressing and knock-on effects of treatment.
Sophie has undergone aggressive chemotherapies and blood transfusions as part of conventional medical efforts to combat the tumor. But in a bid to boost her immune system response and find a long-lasting cure, mother Tracy Ryan turned to Seraph where she says her daughter received infusions of natural killer cells in September and December 2021. She said the treatment was costing around $160,000 per cycle of two infusions plus around $120,000 for additional therapies.
Enochian announced a research partnership with Dr. Jewett in December 2021 – after Sophie Ryan´s treatment at Seraph had begun. Prior to Sophie Ryan´s treatment, Dr. Jewett was quoted as supporting Enochian Biosciences and Seraph Medical´s work in this March 2021 press release. This stock analysis report by Seeking Alpha in April 2021 suggested Dr. Jewett and Gumrukcu were working together on a proof-of-concept for a cancer treatment.
Partly because Dr. Jewett and Gumrukcu were professional acquaintances, Tracy Ryan said she did not thoroughly check Gumrukcu’s credentials:
“(Gumrukcu) just told us of different brilliant scientists that he had practiced under and who had taught him a lot of the things he knows today. But I didn’t ask for college or education credentials…What mattered to me was how good was the science, how safe is it and how effective could it be and all of those boxes were checked. And I´ve spent a lot of time with Dr Serhat, he’s a wonderful caring human being that I have felt completely safe having my daughter in his hands.”
However, she said that Gumrukcu was “not the doctor on deck”, nor administered the treatment directly. She said Dr Phillip Musikanth was Seraph´s oncologist and another specialist she had hired was also present.
Tracy Ryan was aware the natural killer cell therapy offered by Seraph Medical was still considered experimental and did not have FDA approval:
“They (Seraph) have not gone through FDA approval process. It’s very expensive and time consuming to do that. It can take 1 to 2 billion dollars just to get a drug to market…”
Mason Palmour, from Georgia, USA, was described as a regular 16-year-old who enjoyed “fishing, hunting and playing football” before he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor in October 2021.
His GoFundMe campaign is currently aiming to raise $167,426 so he too can receive infusions of natural killer cells at Seraph Medical.
We talked by phone to Mason´s mother Alison who told us she was referred to Seraph by fellow tumor patient Sophie Ryan´s mother, Tracy.
Mason has already had conventional surgery to remove the tumor from his brain. But his mother said the next stage of treatment they are seeking at Seraph Medical is not covered by medical insurance:
“In Mason ́s case… the surgeons were able to remove the entire tumor. So our goal here (by going to Seraph) is to basically …to trick the immune system with natural killer cell therapy so that the tumor or the cancer cells no longer replicate and the tumor never comes back again.”
At the time of our conversation in March 2022, she said she had done no background checks on Seraph Medical or on Gumrukcu´s medical credentials:
“I’ll be honest. I haven ́t done any. And that ́s just because I spoke with somebody personally that her daughter is receiving treatment there. I’ve seen her on…there’s a documentary ‘Weed the People’ and Tracy and her daughter are on that documentary on Netflix just the fact that I’ve spoken with her and I follow her and her daughter on Facebook and I haven ́t felt the need to do any backing or checks just because somebody I know, well I don’t know her, I now know, her daughter received treatment. I know that sounds crazy but I haven ́t done any.”
Neither Alison Palmour nor her son Mason had met the Seraph Medical team in person when we spoke. They had had a Zoom meeting to discuss the treatment plan – a meeting led by Gumrukcu. Alison Palmour said of Gumrukcu:
“I think he (Gumrukcu) is a scientist, well some … sort of a researcher scientist type … I’m OK with that. I don’t know if he would be the actual one to perform the treatment but his study is what they follow.”
Between late 2019 and early 2020, Bassam Mohammed, from Denmark, received infusions of natural killer cells at the Seraph Institute. His treatment was profiled in this Danish media report that described Seraph Medical as a “controversial clinic”.
His case was also published as a case study in the American Journal of Case Reports in March 2021. Mohammed was not referred to by name in that report, in an apparent effort to anonymize the findings. But cross-checking biographical details in the case study and the Danish media report makes it clear this is Mohammed.
A close relative later told us by phone that Mohammed had been diagnosed as having “just months to live” by his Danish doctors before seeking treatment in the U.S. The relative confirmed Mohammed was the person featured in that case study.
The relative also confirmed Mohammed was still alive and free of any recurrence of the glioblastoma tumor. Asking not to be named because of an NDA the family had signed with Seraph Medical, the relative said:
“He (Mohammed) is feeling very well, never been better. All the examinations are good up until now. After he came back from the U.S., he now has two children. Everything is good. Cannot be better.”
The relative told us Dr Musikanth had been the hands-on doctor administering Mohammed´s treatment. They said of Gumrukcu:
“He is very quiet, only speaks when necessary. One feels safe in his company. He is not like other doctors. He is something else. He shows hope. There´s something about him. But it was the American doctor who controlled it all. Serhat, I did not really see much of. We were told he was upstairs in a laboratory. We saw him when there was good news to be told.”
Tracy Ryan, the mother of American brain tumor patient Sophie Ryan, cited the report about Mohammed´s treatment in the American Journal of Case Reports as evidence of Seraph Medical´s effective treatment plans. Enochian Biosciences has also referred to the published case report in its press releases.
Enochian currently has no peer reviewed journal research. As mentioned in Appendix A, Enochian Biosciences has referred to a published case report in its press releases.
We contacted the journal´s managing editor Danielle Benz to find out about the peer review and fact checking process.
She told us by phone that the authors of the paper, which include Gumrukcu and other Seraph staff, paid $995 to have it published. She said it was “peer reviewed by one medical expert”, though it did not come across as a rigorous process:
“If our reviewers catch things great. There are things our reviewers don ́t catch…We cannot guarantee every single fact is checked. These are case reports…These are not research papers.”
Benz conceded she had not fact-checked whether Gumrukcu was actually a doctor:
“With the volume of reports we get…there’s no possible way for everybody to check every single fact…I make an effort to make sure at least their references are correct…I’m not sure if they’re using them correctly but I try very hard to make sure they are referencing real references. I can ́t go back and make sure every little sentence and that’s why I hope people are reviewing these things.”
We then pointed out an incorrectly cited FDA regulation, mentioned in the report as it appeared on the webpage in March 2022. Benz responded:
“Are we supposed to be police? We have to have at some point have some responsibility passed to the authors. We can´t sit and verify every single person. I do try to make sure I have affiliation and references correct and their names spelled correctly but we can only do so much.”
As part of our research, a Hindenburg investigator received screenshots from the Turkish police database showing details of Serhat Gumrukcu’s arrests in the country.
A second screenshot confirms Gumrukcu´s place and date of birth and states that Gumrukcu´s academic level was “graduate of a high school or equivalent.”
We at Hindenburg believe wholeheartedly in press freedom and refuse to be bullied by big business and corporate lawyers.
We do not believe attorneys should be trying to block journalistic endeavors (especially when they are passing on legal threats and professional slurs on behalf of clients who allegedly contracted hitmen, are on the run from justice in other international jurisdictions and are convicted fraudsters.)
In the course of our investigation into Serhat Gumrukcu, LA attorney Harry Nelson sent this cease-and-desist letter to members of our team on March 11, 2022.
Often, the worst offenders push back the hardest. We view such baseless legal threats as a sign that we are doing our jobs.
While it surely doesn’t pay as well, we suggest Mr. Nelson, rather than running legal errands for the fake “Doctor” Gumrukcu, could perhaps use his extensive experience as a “healthcare lawyer” to represent the victims of Gumrukcu´s scams and ensure the full refund of the funds they were conned into spending in a desperate effort to cure the terminal illnesses of their loved ones.
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 Prior to the acquisition of Gumrukcu’s company, which had been formed just 8 months before the acquisition was announced, Enochian (then DanDrit) commissioned an “independent valuation” for Serhat Gumrukcu’s “proprietary” HIV technology. The firm came back with a valuation of $409 million but offered little detail on how the valuation was actually calculated, due to the claim that Gumrukcu’s HIV therapy was built around “confidential trade secrets.” [Pg. 1] Chairman Rene Sindlev later said the valuation partner was Noble Capital, a Boca Raton, Florida-based firm that offers “company-sponsored research.” Noble Capital has been fined by FINRA on 8 separate occasions for matters that often relate to fraud or stock promotion. It also provided coverage for Genprex, a heavily-promoted company that we wrote about in 2018 that has since seen its stock plummet by ~90%.
 There appears to be no centralized database in Turkey for checking criminal and civil cases against an individual. Additionally, prosecutors told us they could not release full case files or permit any copying of files to us without special permission from either the defendants or victims in the case.
 These treatments also included IMAK, B-17, Celebrex and Endoxan
 The registered address for the clinic is Toluca Lake, California, but internet directories also locate the Seraph Medical clinic in the same building as Enochian’s headquarters in Century Park East, LA.
 We phoned one of the senior administrators for the registry who told us: “If you´re not finding anything (on the registry) then there is potential that there´s somebody claiming to be an M.D. and might be misinformed about the laws about putting an M.D. suffix on their license or doctor´s license. That could be one administrative violation that you could file a complaint.”
 Notably, the registered address for Ermes LLC was 8581 Santa Moniva Blvd, Suite 317, per court documents from the Superior Court of California, Case No. SC124544. Enochian Biopharma, the predecessor to Enochian Biosciences, would later be based out of that same address, as stated in California state filings for Enochian Biopharma.
 Count 7, PC 459
 Carl Sandler’s LinkedIn account includes a bachelor’s degree in Economics, but no training in science or medicine. Anderson Wittekind, Gumrukcu’s husband, also does not mention medical or research experience on his LinkedIn account. His only listed experience is working for Gumrukcu-controlled entities with ties to Enochian.
 G-Tech Bio, LLC doesn’t appear to have LinkedIn employees, a website, or any active operations.
 Per the 2020 license agreement, both Gumrukcu’s non-profit (Seraph Research Institute) and his for-profit (G Tech Bio, LLC) are located in the same office suite. Enochian Biosciences is located in the same building two floors up. [Pg. 22]
 There are no disclosures of legal proceedings in any of Enochian’s annual reports– 2017 Annual Report [Pg. 6]; 2018 Annual Report [Pg. 19]; 2019 Annual Report [Pg. 10]; 2020 Annual Report [Pg. 20]; 2021 Annual Report [Pg. 11]