Missing persons? Just leave it to ex-officer Lucan

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The Independent Online
Where are they all now? Another instalment in our fascinating series about people who were once household names but have since disappeared completely from public view.

Dennis Easby. The controversial president of the Rugby Football Union who once upon a time fired Will Carling from the English captaincy for saying that the age of the amateur was past. As president of the RFU, Mr Easby had to be out in South Africa for the World Cup, but as a dedicated amateur he could not take any payment for this, so he decided to hitchhike there instead. At present he is believed to be half-way through Nigeria on a lorry taking yams to the coast. He is known locally in the native dialect as the-man-in-pin-stripe-suit-who-talk-a-lot-about-money-but-never- give-any.

Nick Leeson. The man who shot into notoriety in the Far East as the man who brought Barings Bank to its knees, and then disappeared in Frankfurt on the way home. He is now believed to be in a prison somewhere in Germany, where he has set up the HQ of a new futures and derivatives trading company, and is believed to have made a fortune from the safety of his cell.

Mikhail Gorbachev. Mr Gorbachev has started a support group for ex-world leaders called Statesmen Anonymous. During its sessions, people who were once in charge of huge tracts of the world can get up and talk frankly about the problems brought about by the transition from power to obscurity. "One day you control half the known world," says Gorbachev, "the next day you cannot even find your tie. This is worse than losing your job. It is unemployment on a heroic scale. And it brings heroic problems in its wake. So, we get together and talk seriously about how we, as ex-leaders, can help each other. Then we get the vodka out and get blind drunk, and then we ring up Boris Yeltsin and give him vulgar advice! It is great fun. We are not too rude to Boris, as we expect him to join us soon."

Not all famous ex-world leaders are in the group. Margaret Thatcher has never turned up, for instance, as she still believes she is in charge of Britain and refuses to see herself as an ex-leader. Ronald Reagan likewise is not a member, as he does not realise that he ever was President of the USA and still thinks of himself as an ex-actor.

General Galtieri. The man who came a close second to Margaret Thatcher in the Falklands War now runs a tango dancing school in Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, of all unlikely places. But how came he to set up a tango academy? "Well, mi amigo," he says, "it is not so much a dancing school as more like a small night-club. Well, let us be honest, it is a late-night dive where you can dance if you want to. But I feel I am repaying my debt to the Malvinas people here by bringing them a little gaiety, a little joy! Also, when the Argentines invade again, there will be a big, big welcome waiting for them here."

Lord Lucan. Lord Lucan is a security guard on an Adelaide building site, after a distinguished career in the Australian police force. He always thought the last place anyone would think of looking for him would be in the forces of law and order, and joined up as soon as he left Britain.

"I thought it would be hard to make my way in Australia because of my very different background," he said, "but the Aussies are good blokes and will accept anyone. They love a lord. They love a murderer just as much. You can imagine how well I went down!"

The OJ Simpson jury. Almost all the jurors who once served on the OJ Simpson jury have now branched out into show biz, and many of them are either TV performers or presenters of chat shows. "I enjoyed the trial while I lasted," said one of them, "but I couldn't see it becoming a career and I felt I was in danger of being typecast, so it was time to get out. A pity in some ways, as I would like to have found out what happened ... Do I what? Do I think that OJ Simpson did it? Baby, I don't answer questions like that for under $500!"

Asil Nadir. Mr Asil Nadir (or Sir Asil Nadir, as he likes to call himself) is just sitting in Cyprus waiting for his knighthood to arrive. It's a full-time occupation waiting for the Tories to keep their promises, he says. He paid the money, and was promised the title, so where is it? One can see his point.