Twelve individuals have been arrested and 30 are under investigation in Italy for having invented the “Antarctic Theocratic State of San Giorgio” with which they swindled about 700 people by promising nationality in order to be able to pay fewer taxes, have passports, land, and even receive noble titles.
The operation, called The island that does not exist, was launched by the Police of Catanzaro in the region of Calabria in April 2021 after a search of a property that had been indicated as the diplomatic headquarters of the fictitious state.
The criminal network made believe that this nation existed with autonomous sovereignty and privileges by virtue of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and took care of the procedures for granting citizenship to whoever requested it, in exchange for between 200 and 1000 euros.
In about a year, the members of this network had swindled 700 people throughout Italy and collected about 400,000 euros.
According to a note from the Police, in addition to having created an Internet page on the State, they had also set up the publication of an Official State Gazette and the creation of various institutions (Head of State, Government, Court of Justice, Supreme Court, Territorial Delegations...).
In this way, they would have deceived people to whom they offered the most disparate advantages: from the possibility of receiving funding for their research projects, benefiting from a more agile bureaucracy for their companies or using state documents to move freely in Italy and abroad, to the possibility of allowing the entry into the national territory of foreign citizens or obtaining an exemption from vaccines for covid-19.
By joining the Antarctic State, the most attractive benefits would have been those related to tax reduction, and in at least two cases, there was the sale of land in Antarctica accompanied by the respective noble title.
Among the 12 arrested, under house arrest, there is the former general of the Financial Guard Mario Farnesi, 72 years old, who was the operational referent of all the branches of the Theocratic State and author of the false documents to obtain the nationality.