Mark Thatcher charged in alleged coup plot
Prosecutors in Equatorial Guinea today confirmed that they are charging Sir Mark Thatcher in connection with an alleged coup plot in the oil-rich west African nation.
Sir Mark, son of the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, is accused of helping to finance the coup attempt, Attorney General Jose Olo Obono said today.
His name has been added to a list of 19 other defendants, all suspected mercenaries, who are being prosecuted by Equatorial Guinea.
Sir Mark and other British allegedly worked with opposition figures, scores of South African alleged mercenaries, and six Armenian pilots in an attempt to change the regime.
It is claimed that the alleged plotters intended to force out the 25-year regime of President Teodoro Obiang, installing an exiled opposition figure to lead the government of Equatorial Guinea - Africa's third largest oil producer.
The alleged coup was uncovered in March by South African intelligence services. Scores of accused mercenaries were arrested in Equatorial Guinea and in Zimbabwe.
A separate legal action against Sir Mark is under way in South Africa, where he has been under arrest since August. Sir Mark's trial for allegedly violating South Africa's foreign military assistance act is due to open in Cape Town on November 25.
Three South Africans convicted in Pretoria yesterday of involvement in the coup are expected to give evidence to the Cape Town court. The men agreed a plea bargain deal to provide testimony against others charged with financing the coup.
The authorities in Equatorial Guinea have reportedly stated that they would wait until after the South African courts have finished their trial before trying to extradite Sir Mark.
Source: UK's Guardian