The mid-90s of the last century were marked by the receipt of advertising faxes by many tax planners, who offered to register an offshore bank at a low cost. Despite the fact that offshore companies gravitate towards exotic places, no one could find such a state in the atlases.
Those who contacted the sender by fax, managed to find out that this is a church-state formation, limited by international recognition, which is why it is not on the maps. Many have pondered such a proposal ...
The founding father of the mysterious state is David Pedley, a businessman and religious leader from California. It was there, based on his own interpretations of the Bible and the separation of King Melchizedek from it, that the swindler came up with the idea to create a righteous kingdom.
According to rumors, for this, even a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean was acquired, which was so small that during high tides it was completely hidden under water. Pedley's activities have always been a close object of attention of the authorities, by 1975 he had already been repeatedly convicted, and in 1983 he was also convicted of offshore machinations together with his son and imprisoned.
The fraudster died in 1987 while imprisoned on the Melchizedek Bible. True, many are sure that Pedley Sr. just faked his death, continuing his work under a different name. His son changed his name to Branch Weindresser and continued his father's work.
The Dominion website, a government led by Branch himself, and a constitution, legislation, and other government paraphernalia were created. In 1994, a president appeared, who became Pedley's wife, he himself took over as vice president.
For a small fee, anyone could become a citizen of this country; by paying more, one could even become an ambassador or consul, and one could also accumulate a university diploma and other certificates. However, the real treasure was the ability to register legal entities inherent in any sovereign state. You could buy your own company for a thousand dollars, and your own bank for five thousand.
Despite the fact that Mark attached a letter to the documents in which it was reported that he would be relieved of responsibility in the event of non-recognition of his country, there was a serious demand for the services of the state, including intermediaries who realized that it was possible to make good money on a virtual country. To give itself solidity, the Dominion began territorial expansion, which was expressed in the declaration of its rights to some foreign islands and lands.
The country began to conduct a stormy foreign policy activity - ministers and consuls were appointed, correspondence with the UN was conducted. The Dominion was even recognized as the Central African Republic, and the embassy's phone number ended up in Washington's telephone directory, but there was still an answering machine at the other end. There was even declared a spiritual war on France for nuclear tests and Serbia for the war in Kosovo.
The activities of Pedley and other "officials" of the Dominion immediately came under the scrutiny of the special services, as several banks registered in a mysterious offshore began operating in the United States. Banks accepted deposits, in return for bank papers and securities of Melchizedek himself. Such financial instruments of the virtual state were issued for hundreds of millions of dollars, they were exchanged for real securities, with their help loans were issued, which was the purpose of the fraudsters.
The financial well-being of such companies was confirmed by the conclusion of the Melchizedek auditors. Soon, insurance companies registered in the Dominion appeared in the United States. The secret services quickly followed Pedley's trail, but they could not prove his direct guilt, since he said that the banks and firms of the Dominion are independent legal entities.
Soon, the scam spread branches around the world, in 1995 the Crown Prince of Melchizedek tried in Hong Kong to convert into money checks of the Melchizedek banks for half a million. His lordship turned out to be an unemployed Austrian baker who, with his Dominion diplomatic passport, had already traveled half of Asia.
In 1998, the Philippines arrested citizens who were selling Dominion passports, including hundreds of Asian citizens deceived who acquired fictitious documents for $ 3,500. State positions were also sold there, for much larger sums. The total amount of funds raised was one million dollars.
Melchizedek passports looked so natural that at one time Malaysia and Singapore even semi-officially allowed entry with them. However, Pedley himself resolutely dissociated himself from the activities of his "subordinates", promising to sort out everything and dismiss the guilty. Meanwhile, checks from Melchizedek banks began to surface all over the world, appearing in Africa, Latin America, and Australia.
The sale of offshore Melchizedek banks was carried out not only in London, but also in Russia. Their advertising was carried out in the press, a luxurious office was filmed. In the 90s, several fraudulent banks with a sonorous name ("Swiss Investment Bank", "Eurobank Zurich", etc.), registered in Melchizedek, were closed. The amount of loss was in the hundreds of thousands.
The "authorities" of Melchizedek again promised to sort things out and even closed one of the banks, which was already under suspicion of the authorities. Nobody could personally convict Pedley of fraud, especially since it could be regarded as religious persecution.
Recently, the activities of such banks have died down, Pedley himself changed his name to Tsemach Ben David Netzer Korem, his whereabouts are unknown. The Dominion website was received by the Israeli branch, however, in Russian. The events of September 11, 2001 significantly toughened the countries' policy against offshore banks, now it is forbidden to open correspondent accounts for banks without offices and staff. Thus, the dummy banks of virtual states were rebuffed.