The morning after a man was arrested for allegedly fastening a fake bomb to a rich Australian teenager's neck, reports from Australian newspapers and U.S. media paint a stark portrait of a jobless middle-aged executive, recently ousted from a luxurious foreign post and estranged from his wife, who tried a desperate gambit on a well-to-do but distant acquaintance as a last resort to get his once-charmed life back.
The Australian papers spent their day researching the life of Paul Douglas Peters, the 50-year-old man arrested in Kentucky yesterday for allegedly locking a fake "collar bomb" to 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver, daughter of 51-year-old Robert Pulver, a software executive. Peters, the son of a Cathay Pacific airline pilot, grew up in Australia and attended the prestigious Scots College private school before graduating Sydney University with a degree in economics and law, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. He reportedly worked as an investment banker at the New Jersey-based Connell Finance before he joined Australian Allco in 2006, shortly before the firm's demise. That's where things started to go sour for him.
After a year working for Allco in Hong Kong, Peters persuaded the company to send him to Malaysia to open a branch that would focus on interest-free Islamic finance, said a Herald report. A former colleague told The Australian it was one of those "sweet deals which involved him living like a king and getting a million-dollar salary and driver." When Allco went into receivership during the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008, the Herald reported, "Mr Peters used his middle name to found the Douglas Corporation in Kuala Lumpur to buy out the wreckage of the Malaysian fund in mid-2008, becoming the owner of all but one share." But there was little to salvage, and the company soon dissolved. Peters moved with his wife and three teenage daughters to LaGrange, Kentucky, about four years ago, "although it was not until about two years ago that Mr. Peters started to appear regularly," said another Herald report. Somewhere along the way, Peters and his wife divorced, though they reportedly planned to remarry after Peters returned to Kentucky on Aug. 8.