IRELAND has become the ideal destination for rich Americans who want to do a "Reginald Perrin" and disappear without trace, according to a US privacy consultant who advises people on how to create brand new lives.
"The more affluent lifestyle there in recent years has made it an attractive location for people to hide, " said Los Angeles-based Frank M Ahearn, who also claims to have helped many Irish people to disappear. "Wealthy people and celebrities are always looking for that alternative place just in case something goes wrong and they need to disappear. Dublin is a good destination for the wealthy who want to have a choice about where to go."
Ahearn believes that his services, which have been available for over five years on his www. disappear. info website, are akin to a "private witness protection programme."
He explained, "I have a broad client range. I work with women who are victims of stalkers, celebrities who wish to insulate themselves from the public reach and high profile executives and celebrities who need to protect their families from potential kidnappers.
"For famous people I advise them to have their address, bank accounts and even utility bills registered in the name of a corporation so that they are not easily tracked down. An example of this would be trying to help celebrities' children away from potential kidnappers, " he claimed.
When asked if he helps parents to get away from their spouse and children, Ahearn replied: "Typically before I help someone I look into why somebody wants to disappear before I help them. I spend most of my time screening my clients to make sure they are legitimate. So for every 15 emails I get . . . only one or two are legitimate.
"If you are looking to leave a wife in the lurch or abandon your kids, I don't want to have anything to do with that. There has to be a legitimate point to it or else I do not want to help the person, " said Ahearn.
"Most of the women I deal with are vicitims and most of the men I deal with have come into money or they have left a relationship and want to move on. I do not charge women who are being stalked."
John Darwin, a British man who was thought to have died in a canoeing accident five years ago, turned up alive last December after allegedly faking his own death so that his wife could claim life insurance money.
Ahearn claimed: "John Darwin is an amazing case. He committed a perfect crime but he has admitted that he bought a passport from someone. I would not deal with someone like that as that is aiding and abeting in a crime." Ahearn had never heard of solicitor Michael Lynn.