Sunday, March 09, 2008

Thatcher; Mandelson; a coup attempt; armaments

Simon Mann was arrested in Zimbabwe in 2004 when he and 68 South African and Angolan mercenaries arrived in Harare.

Reportedly Mann, formerly of the British military, had been heading for Equatorial Guinea to topple its president.

Mann was extradited to Equatorial Guinea.

Reportedly Mann has been offered a deal by the Equatorial Guinean government in which he will be allowed to go home if he names the people behind the 2004 plot.

Mann will be put on trial for the coup plot sometime in March 2008.

According to The Mail on Sunday, 9 March 2008 ( EXCLUSIVE: Judge rules jail interview with Dog of War Simon Mann can be broadcast):

The UK's Channel 4 has won a legal battle to broadcast an interview with Simon Mann, the former Special Air Services officer who was involved in a plot to overthrow the president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

In the interview, Simon Mann names Ely Calil, a Lebanese financier and oil trader, as one of the men who funded the coup.

Ely Calil is linked to EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who was alleged to have privately met Calil, and another businessman accused of backing the coup, just weeks after it was thwarted.

Mann is also said to claim that Sir Mark Thatcher was heavily involved in the plot.

In 2004 Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, had to retract Foreign Office claims that the Government had no advance warning of the coup attempt.

Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister, was fined £265,000 in South Africa for helping finance the alleged coup.

In 1995, Mark Thatcher and Lt Colonel Tim Spicer set up Sandline International.

According to the Mail on Sunday, "It was an enterprise that supposedly made the men £5.6million shipping arms to Sierra Leone, in direct contravention of the UN embargo."

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