Little wonder that Saadi Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan leader Muammar, fancied leaving his troubles behind and disappearing to Punta Mita, an upscale seaside resort on a peninsula just outside Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico's Pacific coast.
As a would-be Hollywood tycoon, who before Libya's revolution was attempting to launch a film production company, Saadi would have been at home among the A-list crowd who holiday there. Punta Mita, on the north end of the Bahia de Banderas, boasts world-class surfing and high-end hotels and restaurants. Recent visitors have included Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, and Kate Hudson.
But it wasn't to be. Yesterday, Mexico's government foiled an elaborate international plot to smuggle the flamboyant playboy into its country using a false name and fake identity documents.
The plan involved at least two Mexicans, one Canadian, and a Dane, the Interior Secretary, Alejandro Poire Romero, told reporters. Several arrests were made by police in Mexico City in early November, and four suspects are currently being held.
Saadi Gaddafi, the Colonel's third son, never made it. He fled Libya in September for the West African country of Niger, which granted him asylum on “humanitarian” grounds. He is under house arrest there, while Interpol tries to secure his extradition.
Mr Poire said Gaddafi paid a team of fixers to fly around the region, opening bank accounts and buying at least one multi-million dollar property. “The large economic resources which this criminal organisation has, or had, allowed them to contract private flights,” said Mr Poire.
Saadi Gaddafi (38) is the third of eight children of the late Libyan dictator. A former professional footballer, Saadi captained the country's national team and was briefly signed to the Italian club Perugia, before failing a drug test.