As covered in our previous article, the US Bankruptcy Court ruled against Scientologists Matt and Kathy Feshbach’s attempt to discharge $3.8 million in back taxes in bankruptcy. The Court found that the Feshbach’s could have paid their entire tax debt had they simply curbed their excessive and lavish spending on a luxury lifestyle. The Feshbach’s thought they could ultimately beat the IRS by going bankrupt. However, they lost that bet when the court found that the couple had, “willfully attempted to evade their tax debt within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(C).” The Feshbach’s lost their case and owe the IRS $3.8 million.
In this article we turn our attention to the story Matt Feshbach’s Okyanos Heart Institute in Grand Bahama. In 2011 Matt and Kathy Feshbach told the US Bankruptcy Court that their net worth was only $138,000. Nevertheless, by By 2014, Matt Feshbach had founded and was the CEO of the Okyanos Heart Institute in The Bahamas. The premise of Okaynos was that adult stem cells taken from adipose tissue (body fat) were effective in treating certain diseases, particularly heart disease. A 2014 press release reads:
Freeport, The Bahamas (PRWEB)February 21, 2014
Okyanos Heart Institute, whose mission it is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using adult stem cell therapy, announces CEO Matt Feshbach will present at the STEMSO Conference. He will join a panel to discuss the opportunities available through the new stem cell research and Therapy Act. The conference will be held at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahamas, February 19-22, 2014. The panel discussion will be Friday, February 21 from 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Feshbach’s partner in Okyanos was fellow Scientologist and OT Manuel F. Vianna, formerly CFO at Condusiv Technologies (formerly Diskkeeper), a company founded and owned by Scientologist and OT Craig Jensen.
Matt Feshbach and Manuel Vianna
Matt Feshbach did not have an easy time setting up Okyanos in 2013. For some reason, Feshbach apparently did not inform the Bahamian minister of state for investments of he and his wife’s bankruptcy and messy IRS problems. This is called a “withhold” in Scientology. The Nassau Guardian reported that Feshbach’s IRS problems came “in light of revelations.” Indeed, even as Feshbach and his partners were putting together $14.2 million in first round funding, Feshbach and his wife had told the IRS in 2011 that their net worth was only $138,000. As Grand Bahama was passing a set of laws to permit Fesbach’s venture to operate, the authorities naturally had reasons to be concerned once they learned of Feshbach’s bankruptcy and massive IRS debt.
Feshbach, a man who wore $6,000 suits and lived in the lap of luxury, assured the Bahamian authorities that his IRS debt and bankruptcy were mere trifles. The Nassau Guardian of July 19, 2013:
The government is undertaking a “full review” of a proposal to develop a stem cell treatment facility in Grand Bahama in light of revelations that its CEO has declared bankruptcy and is battling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over a $3.8m unpaid liability.
Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for investments, told Guardian Business yesterday that court documents relating to Okyanos Heart Institute CEO Matt Feshbach’s current legal and financial woes suggest the Christie administration was correct to hold off on granting final approval of the project. Okyanos Heart Institute intends to offer stem cell therapy to cardiac artery disease patients. The facility had received conditional approval from the former government.
Rolle’s comments come as the Okyanos Heart Institute described Feshbach’s IRS woes as a “personal matter that started many years ago and does not relate to the Okyanos Heart Institute.”
Feshbach himself, in a phone interview with Guardian Business, said that his legal and financial situation “does not affect the viability or solvency of Okyanos in any way”.
“Okyanos is an investor-backed company and is not dependent on any one investor. We’ve raised a significant amount of money to date,” said Feshbach, who described himself as a shareholder in the company.
The Nassau Guardian article noted Fessbach’s belief in his Scientology super powers:
He [Fessbach] has also been strongly connected to the Church of Scientology and is noted in a 2006 St. Petersburg Times article as a major financial backer of the church’s “Super Powers” program. The program is intended to heighten one’s perceptions – or “perceptics”, in Scientology parlance – via the five senses.
In the article, Feshbach is said to believe he has super powers, which helped him to save a young boy’s life, and is quoted as saying that he is “no longer dependent on [his] physical body to perceive things”.
Being “no longer dependent on his physical body to perceive things” might help to explain why Feshbach had no reality on the IRS and its tax demand. After all, L. Ron Hubbard himself had railed against income taxes as being criminal and a rip-off:
“First consider a group which takes in money but does not deliver anything in exchange. This is called rip-off. It is the ‘exchange’ condition of robbers, tax men, governments and other criminal elements.” – L. Ron Hubbard, HCO PL 10 Sep 82 – Exchange, Org Income and Staff Pay.
As an editorial aside, L. Ron Hubbard cannot be blamed for failing to lump in the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) along with the IRS. I say this because there is no evidence that L. Ron Hubbard ever sanctioned the 1984 creation of the IAS. The IAS was a contrivance in which David Miscavige converted the legal defense fund for Mary Sue Hubbard and her ten other Program Snow White conspirators into the IAS. See my article: How Scientology’s 1970s infiltration scandal led to the creation of its IAS slush fund for the story.
Feshbach and his partners opened Okyanos Heart Institute in The Bahamas because the particular type of stem cell procedures they offer are not FDA approved in the US. While medical ventures in the tax haven of The Bahamas tend to raise eyebrows in the US, the Bahamian government is not concerned with such perceptions. Accordingly, Bahamian legislators enacted laws that allowed companies to practice stem cell medical procedures there that were not FDA approved in the US. The goal of the Bahamian government is to increase revenues on the island nation by promoting experimental medical treatments, or non-FDA approve treatments, that drive big dollar medical tourism. Desperate people will fly to The Bahamas to get treatments that are not available in the US.
Okyanos was a short sellers dream for Feshbach because both positions were covered so to speak. If the FDA did not approve these treatments then The Bahamas did and there was money to be made there. If the FDA eventually approved the procedures, however, then Okyanos could pack up its clinic in a cargo plane, fly 22 minutes to the US, open a new clinic in Miami, and start collecting big medical insurance payments for performing the now approved procedures. From there it would be a simple matter of raising capital and opening Okyanos clinics all over the US.
Okyanos trivia: A bill of lading found online reveals one of Feshbach’s US connections, Dr. Todd Malan, who became staff at Okyanos:
Smart Lipo Institute. See: Dr. Todd Malan, Center For Regenerative Cell Medicine. Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Malan worked for Okyanos where he did liposuction in which he presumably used the body-jet® Water-Assisted Liposuction Technology featured on Okyanos’ website.
On March 18, 2014 Okyanos announced that its first round of funding had been completed:
We are very pleased to have recently announced the completion of our investment funding. Since our founding in 2011, the Okyanos family has grown to include life-long friends, investors, supporters, researchers and members of the cardiology community—all of whom share our purpose and commitment towards improving the quality of life heart patients.
With the success of our last round, Okyanos has raised in-total over $14 million. This kind of financial strength is essential to our mission, as it enables us to truly develop the highest possible standards of safety and care.
We feel very lucky to have been so well-embraced by the business and healthcare community of Grand Bahama Island, and we are excited for what lies ahead.
In an interview Fessbach noted that he had angel investors:
Okyanos has been funded by a group of what I would call “purpose-driven entrepreneurial investors.” They are not typical angel investors, because they do not do a lot of these kinds of deals.They nevertheless saw an opportunity to create something meaningful in healthcare, and they believed they would get a high return on their investment.
Who were the angel investors? Moreover, I can find no prospectus Feshbach offered for Okyanos. One example: Okaynos claimed to have spent $10 million on its Bahamian facility. These figures cannot be validated. The 2014 installation of what Okyanos widely promoted as a state-of-the-art Philips Cath-Angio machine figured prominently in Okyanos PR:
My research shows a reconditioned Philips Cath-Angio machine can be purchased for $150,000 – $375,000. I worked in medical and surgical devices as part of my portfolio for decades. I note that the Okyanos facility is an outpatient clinic and is not a true surgical theater as one would find in a hospital. Based on the foregoing, I am skeptical and do not accept that Okyanos spent $10 million on its facility. I can do a Bill of Materials for machines, computers, software, flat panels, digital imaging, HVAC, HEPA, and other constructions costs in my head and can’t get to $10 million for one outpatient procedure room equipped with one Philips Cath-Angio machine. Perhaps Matt Feshbach can correct me if I am wrong and kindly produce invoices showing $10 million.
Despite what seemed like the rational, methodical, and sequenced building of Okyanos as a viable company, a press release of April 21, 2016 announced that Matt Fessbach and his partners were selling Okyanos after only two years of operation. No explanation was provided:
The Bahamas’ first stem cell treatment facility yesterday confirmed it has been acquired by a UK-based medical provider, with a deal designed to grow the operation and the number of patients it treats.
Freeport-based Okyanos Cell Therapy has been purchased by Thorn Medical PLC, which recently obtained its license to conduct stem cell research and therapy in this nation from the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee (NSEC).
While the purchase price was not disclosed, the deal is expected to expand Okyanos’s business and boost its ability to reach and treat more patients.
Matthew Feshbach and Manual Vianna, Okyanos’s co-founders, invested around $14 million in establishing the facility, which provides stem cell therapy to chronically ill patients in a bid to improve their quality of life.
A May 9, 2016 press release added amplifying details about Thorn Medical’s acquisition of Okyanos:
British-based Thorn Medical Plc has acquired Grand Bahama’s Okyanos stem cell facility, and says plans to expand the clinic’s services will make it one of the world’s leading centres – attracting investment and boosting The Bahamas’ medical tourism industry.
Thorn Medical, which bought a controlling interest in Okyanos Cell Therapy in April, recently obtained an unlimited license from the government of The Bahamas for both stem cell research and treatment. The company is currently preparing a stock market listing in London and will then apply for a dual listing on NASDAQ to raise further funds to invest in its stem cell operations in The Bahamas.
Despite Thorn Medical’s acquisition of Okyanos, Matt Feshbach was still apparently involved in the company as he gave a November 2016 interview . In this interview Feshbach was clearly speaking as Scientologist and not a scientist. Thus, he conspiratorially blamed Big Pharma and the FDA as the reasons that the US has not jumped onboard the stem cell train in a big way. In the quote below Feshbach uses the rather self-serving term “pharmacological paradigm fixation.” Feshbach also misstates matters as medicine does in fact think in terms of genetic ensembles and systems. This quote shows Feshbach to be pitching his product by use of pseudo-intellectualism:
Cade Hildreth: Why has stem cell therapy been slow to be commercialized and adopted within the United States?
Matthew Feshbach: I have heard different opinions in this area and various conspiracy theories. However, I think for adult cell therapy, there are two factors.
Institutional investors, the FDA, and big pharma tend to think of stem cells in the same way they think about small molecules; in other words, that pharmacological effects occur through a single mechanism of action which addresses the key factor of a disease, such as an immunosuppressant for autoimmune diseases or steroids for inflammation. They tend to ask questions like, “Can this cell do one single action, like grow new brain cells to help an Alzheimer’s patient regain mental function?”
Unfortunately, they do not understand that every one of these diseases, like diabetes or heart failure or Alzheimer’s, involve multiple factors – or put another way, there are multiple diseases within the primary diagnosis. One mechanism is not going to resolve these types of diseases. You need multi-potent cells, such as ADRCs, to solve them.
Therefore, I think what holds back progress more than anything is that these groups have a pharmacological paradigm fixation…
Of course, as a Scientology OT Matt Feshbach would secretly maintain that body thetans clustered in a mutual incident are the cause of all disease. On the other hand, Scientology’s metaphysics and theory of disease won’t make Feshbach any money. Hence, as an entrepreneur whose investment career took a big hit in 2008 he looked for something else — and that was stem cells. In the interview cited, Feshbach pressed his attack on the FDA:
Cade Hildreth: How well is the FDA regulating the cell therapy in the United States and what can be improved in future changes?
Matthew Feshbach: I think they are doing a poor job at both ends of the barbell. When it comes to getting an approval for cell therapy products, this research only entered in the marketplace in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For bone marrow, I believe there have only been one or two stem cell products approved in the past 25 years. Obviously, the FDA is making the approval process incredibly onerous, because they are taking a pharmacological approach to it.
On the other side of the barbell, the FDA has regulations, CFR 1271 to be specific, about SVF, calling it a “drug” and requiring it to go through a drug approval process that they do not enforce. So, now there is a group of non-compliant doctors and clinics, for example, the Cell Surgical Network, the Lung Institute and U.S. Stem Cell clinics, using inferior technology and getting mixed results. It is not that they never see patients benefits as stem cells even in very low dosage can work to some degree or another. The issue is that their results are mixed in terms of how profound the benefit can be to the patient and how sustainable it is. And we do hear of adverse events at these clinics that are not honestly reported by them.
As one person said, “If they will violate FDA regulations how can you trust them to not cut other corners.”
SASSOON HOUSE SHIRLEY ST. & VICTORIA AVE, P.O. BOX SS-5383, NASSAU, BAHAMAS
Quizzically, Thorn Medical quickly suddenly went out of business in August of 2017. As reported by REDD-Monitor:
REDD-Monitor next reported on June 15, 2017 that a company called Teknisity had purchased Thorn Medical Inc. In his article, Chris Lang of REDD-Monitor went into stunning detail about how strange this all seemed:
Thorn Medical is a health care company. It was founded in July 2014 by Jack Kaye, a telecoms entrepreneur. The company was planning a £350 million flotation in 2016. In February 2016, Thorn Medical’s directors included Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Eric Peacock, and Sir John Lucas-Tooth.
Thorn Medical’s Corporate Adviser was Opus Capital Limited, a company that has appeared several times on REDD-Monitor. The company’s director, Paul Seakens, has been involved with several scam companies that sold carbon credits to retail investors.
It struck me as odd that a company with a Lord and two Sirs on its board would have a company like Opus Capital acting as its Corporate Adviser. So I sent a few questions to Thorn Medical, asking (amongst other things) about the due diligence process carried out before Opus Capital was appointed in October 2014.
Within a week, a response arrived from Henry Gewanter, Managing Director at Positive Profile Limited, who describes himself as, “the person responsible for Thorn Medical’s corporate communications”.
Gewanter told me that Opus Capital was no longer acting as adviser to Thorn Medical. Opus Capital’s name was swiftly removed from Thorn Medical’s website. And Gewanter requested that REDD-Monitor “immediately remove any mention of us from the article on your website”.
In October 2016, Thorn Medical wrote to its shareholders to tell them that the company had withdrawn its listing on the London Stock Exchange. But a company called Thorn Healthcare Inc would list on the Nasdaq in January 2017.
A company called Thorn Healthcare Inc was registered in Delaware in October 2016. But January came and went without a listing on the Nasdaq. In January 2017, Sir John Lucas-Tooth resigned from Thorn Medical. He was followed by Lord Beaverbrook and Sir Eric Peacock in May 2017.
Things become curiouser still as both Thorn and Teknisity appeared to be operated by the same people at the same address. The REDD-Monitor cited above continued by noting:
Teknisity’s registered office is Victoria House, 18 Dalston Gardens, Stanmore, Middlesex, England, HA7 1BU. That’s the same address as Thorn Medical. And Kurdam. And Conformo. And Zy-Go Solutions. And about 500 other companies.
It’s safe to say that Teknisity Ltd is a company that is closely related to Thorn Medical. They share the same address, directors and major shareholders. Several of those major shareholders also share the same address and directors of Teknisity and Thorn Medical.
Teknisity Inc’s letter explains that Teknisity Inc has bought Teknisity Ltd.
A third letter was sent out to Teknisity Inc’s shareholders on 1 June 2017. The letter supposedly came from the US-based company that Teknisity had instructed “to lead the program in establishing that Teknisity’s company’s shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange Market during the last quarter of this year”.
UPDATE – 22 June 2017: The CEO of the US-based company contacted REDD-Monitor yesterday. He wrote that, “We have no agreement or have received any compensation to be involved with any part of Teknisity, Thorn Medical or any other entity associated with these companies. These companies have no authorization to use our name.”
He added that his company, “has never authorized the use of the attached letter and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you. We pride ourselves in conducting our business with full regulatory and legal compliance.”
REDD-Monitor wrote to the CEO to find out more. A Thorn Medical shareholder had alerted the US-based company to the letter, and on 13 June 2017, the CEO sent a cease and desist letter to Thorn Medical and Teknisity demanding the removal of all mention of the company’s name, including the removal of the shareholders letter from Thorn Medical’s, and Teknisity’s websites.
REDD-Monitor has therefore also removed all mention of the company and the shareholder letter from this post, edited the headline, and edited the post to make clear that the US-based company is not working in any way with Thorn Medical or Teknisity.
If you’re a shareholder in Thorn Medical, Teknisity’s Acceptance Offer includes a useful piece of advice:
If you are unsure of any matter regarding this exchange, you should seek independent financial advice.
I’d also suggest contacting Action Fraud, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
While these strange events were transpiring, a July 25, 2017 press release announced that Okaynos had been acquired by Black Beret Life Sciences LLC:
Black Beret Life Sciences LLC Leads Acquisition of Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine — Houston-Based Life Sciences Firm Adds Bahamas Adult Stem Cell Therapy Company to Portfolio
HOUSTON, July 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Black Beret Life Sciences LLC has finalized the acquisition of Okyanos Operating Company, Ltd., a state-of-the-art adult stem cell and regenerative medicine center based in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Black Beret Life Sciences LLC was founded by the legendary Dr. W. E. “Ed” Bosarge. BBLS LLC acquired Okyanos Operating Company, Ltd. in July 2017.
While Matt Feshbach appears to be out of the picture completely at Okyanos, who knows if he really is?
Lingering questions remain. How did the ownership of Okyanos move from Thorn Medical to Teknisity to Black Beret Life Sciences? Especially considering that Thorn Medical went broke in August 2017? Teknisity, on the other hand, was incorporated on January 7, 2016; had no assets; and was dormant in 2017.
- How did Matt Feshbach’s Okyanos sell itself to Thorn Medical?
- Did Matt Fessbach realize a profit from the sale of Okyanos?
- How did the bankrupt Thorn Medical sell Okyanos to the dormant Teknisity?
- How did the dormant Teknisity sell Okyanos to Black Beret Life Sciences LLC?
Further investigation is underway.