The British mercenary Simon Mann today told an Equatorial Guinea court that Mark Thatcher, the son of the former prime minister, was a committed member of the group that organised the attempted coup in the oil-rich west African state in 2004.
Giving his first detailed account of the planning for the coup, in a clear and confident voice he said Thatcher “was not just an investor, he came completely on board and became a part of the management team”. He said Thatcher had provided $350,000 (£178,000) in funding for the coup.
And it gets better:
In further testimony, Mann claimed that Spain and South Africa, with the endorsement of President Thabo Mbeki, had supported the plot.
…From the Pentagon in Washington, and from the CIA and the big US oil companies, came tacit approval for regime change, according to Mann.
…The name of Lady Thatcher’s son [Mark Thatcher] cropped up when he was asked about planning meetings in South Africa. Both Mann and Thatcher lived there at the time. Thatcher, who now lives in a gated estate in southern Spain, accepted a plea bargain from the South African authorities in 2005 after he admitted helping to finance a helicopter that he suspected “might be used for mercenary activities.”
…Mann took Thatcher to the Chelsea home of Ely Calil, the Lebanese businessman who is alleged to be the main financier of the plot. He named the management board as Calil, himself, a London property developer, Thatcher and a Lebanese colleague of Calil who lives in Beirut.
…Mann said Calil had initially asked him, in May 2003, to assassinate President Obiang and launch a guerrilla war or a coup. “I said I would not do it, on ethical grounds, and also because it was a very stupid thing to do,” Mann said. He accepted he was doing the job for money – said to be $15m – but he claimed he was sympathetic to the story he was told that oil money was not reaching the people. “I believed it was right.”