Skip to comments.(Mark) Thatcher fined over 'coup plot'
Posted on 01/13/2005 5:27:39 AM PST by kipita
Sir Mark Thatcher has pleaded guilty in South Africa over his part in an alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea.
The son of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was fined three million rand (£265,000) and received a four-year suspended jail sentence.
Sir Mark, who denies any knowledge of the plot, agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors.
He admitted breaking anti-mercenary legislation in South Africa by agreeing to finance a helicopter.
It has been reported the businessman said he did not know the helicopter's alleged purpose - that it was to be used in the coup attempt, instead believing it was to be used as an air ambulance.
Speaking outside court, an emotional Sir Mark said: "There is no price too high for me to pay to be reunited with my family and I am sure all of you who are husbands and fathers would agree with that."
Baroness Thatcher also expressed her relief at the outcome, saying: "This has been a difficult time for all of the family - obviously I am delighted that it has been brought to an end.
"I know that what matters to Mark now is to be reunited with Diane and the children as soon as possible."
Her son will now be able to leave South Africa for the first time in five months.
But the Equatorial Guinea authorities are likely to continue pressing for the opportunity to question him.
If Sir Mark was unable to pay the South African fine, he would incur a five-year prison sentence, with his four-year suspended sentence on top of that.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean lawyer for a close friend of Sir Mark accused of leading the alleged coup plot, former SAS officer Simon Mann, says that his jail term has been reduced from seven years to four by a court in Harare.
Mann was last year found guilty of illegally buying weapons in Zimbabwe, which were allegedly intended to be used in the Equatorial Guinea coup plot.
A further 14 men were found guilty in Equatorial Guinea of being involved in the alleged plot to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Africa's third-largest oil producer for the past 25 years.
Nick du Toit was jailed for 34 years, while opposition leader Severo Moto, who is in exile in Spain, was given 63 years in absentia.
Both men escaped the death penalty demanded by the prosecution.
Sir Mark, 51, was arrested in August at his home in South Africa and released on bail.
News of Thursday's hearing in Cape Town came as a surprise. The defendant was not expected back in court until 18 February.
After his plea, his lawyers released a statement saying: "It should be noted that Sir Mark was not charged with any involvement in the attempted coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea.
"The plea bargain was entered into solely as a result of his financing of the charter of a helicopter in circumstances where he should have exercised more caution."
Sipho Ngwema, a spokesman for South Africa's Directorate of Special Investigations, also known as the Scorpions, said Sir Mark had promised to co-operate with South African investigators.
I though putting in "Equatorial Guinea" as a key word would have found any postings. Maybe this post should be removed. However, having read your initial post and after following the story for several months, I know he isn't a Saint but how do governments deal with Sadaam Jrs around the planet?
I was surprised that he is getting away with this too. I feel sorry for his mom though.
I for one do not agree with what he did. For one it must be causing additional stress to his (great) mom, who is not in a state of health that can easily handle the stress of not knowing what was to become of her son. Secondly coup de tats almost always ends up with a result that was far worse than what was there before. Just ask the CIA and the coup 'experiments' they tried during the Cold War. IT is a rare thing for a coup to work well in the mid to long term. Now imagine the messes that would be created by private coup attempts! There is nothing good in what this guy did.
Just because a nation 'has oil' and a 'potential Saddam' doesn't mean private citizens should be bankrolling ill-thought coup de tat attempts (so ill thought that they could even commence the coup before getting caught).
So it's best to deal with the bastard in place and look the other way (France-Europe).
I did not say that. Nowhere in my post did i say that it is 'best to deal with the bastard in place and look the other way ala France and Europe.' What i did say was that private citizens financing coup de tats is one of the best examples of stupidity run amok one can find.
And since in your prior post you had used the analogy of an oil rich nation and Saddam let me use those as well. Saddam was a monster, and Iraq had oil. Does that mean that you, Kipita, a private citizen, should have sought to organize a coup to overthrow Saddam? After all, he was a monster that killed hundreds of thousands (if not millions once you include the war with Iran) and subjugated thousands to boundless oppression. And if not (by the way the government, US govt, would have locked you away forever if you tried such a thing) why is it 'nice' for this guy to do it?
Privately funded coups only lead to misery. And again, if this guy and his cronies were not even able to keep the coup secret before it even got started how in goodness name would they have managed to instill leadership if the coup had succeeded? If they were so inept as not to be able to even start there little endeavor how would they have managed to run a freaking country?
France and old Europe are senile nations (to a large extent), but trying to link their senility to my assertion that private coups are STUPID is grabbing at straws.
As much as I like his mother, I hope this fargin' bastage gets some serious jail time. I was involved in a really good chance to help out the people of this tiny nation, right up until his coup attempt that is...
It seems that the former finance minister of Equatorial Guinea, Manute Bol Ndukwe Kalu, or "Fred" as he was known to his friends and family, had safeguarded billions of dollars in the First National Bank of Malabo following the disputed national elections in 2000. President Obian Nguem Mbasogo reportedly did not allow for an entirely free and honest election, and when Fred started to talk to U.N. observers, his life and those of his family were threatened.
After Fred's dissapearance, his daughter, Sade Moto Mfoto Kalu, or "Judy" as she's affectionately known, sent out a worldwide plea via the Internet to help her save the country's last few billions before President Mbasogo could lay claim to them. I sent Judy my U.S. bank account information last fall as requested, wanting desperately to help these poor people in any way I could, only to read in horror the news of Mark Thatcher's coup attempt. Some may call me optimistic and naive for still believing that the funds will arrive any day, but I really hope they do since for some reason my direct deposit doesn't seem to be working as evidenced by the fact that I'm now six months behind on my mortgage and car payments and my account balance is constantly reading $0. But please don't misunderstand me by thinking I would use these funds for personal reasons; I've promised Judy that I will pay back any money that I may have to borrow.
And no, this was not a scam - those bogus e-mails originate in Nigeria, not Equatorial Guinea. They're totally different countries.
I totally agree with your assessment. But what should we do that's different from old Europe who looks the other way. The Middle East and Africa are full of the same type of dictators. It's hopeless to deal with them as human beings. President Carter tried the "good Christian" approach and was laughed-out-of-town. Reagan was the tough guy with Libya and achieved a better result over time. So, how should me manage relationships with the bastards. That's the trillion dollar question and I don't know and have never read a good argument.
Wow, someone who gets it. Just imagine being born African American in the deep south, with having any friends of muslin faith, and discovering the reality of the continents. I rather be in your "figurative" shoes.........
To go one step further, I'd have to agree with Novak, some people and some cultures don't deserve a Jeffersonian Democracy. They should suffer a few more generations and shed oceans of blood before they reach that point.
I agree that strength in the only medicine for some of these monsters. Saddam got his just due, and that is good. However private citizens should not be starting banana wars just because they have a couple hundred K in the bank.
I don't think I can agree. I think this is simply an extension of the current post-nation-state historical trend and globalization movement that we are witnessing (and some of us are taking a part in).
Think of it this way: A company is simply a collection of people that produce goods and/or services for a profit (or else they go out of business). So what is the difference between a company and a country, which is also a collection of people that produce goods and/or services for a profit, which we refer to with the separate terms 'gross domestic product' and 'national debt.' Subtract the latter from the former, and you have your bottom line.
If a country can no longer afford to provide services for its citizens ("customers") and to maintain an army that is strong enough to ward of its enemies ("hostile takeover"), voila, in comes a businessman ("Sir Mark Thatcher") with a plan for a leveraged buy-out ("coup d'etat"). If the citizens do not like the new management ("government"), they are free to seek better conditions elsewhere ("flee").
Privately-financed coup d'etats are simply an undeniable historical trend due to their efficiency in running organizations, plus they represent a democratizaton of the governance process by allowing any person who strives for success to own and run their own country. If everyone truly understood this system they would be on their knees begging for it, to paraphrase the noted capitalist Jane Fonda.
Agreed. I'm twice your age but you are the future........good luck and I wish you well.
From an idealist perspective you have a good point. But the reality is Africa and the Middle East produce nothing worthwhile (independently). Some of the best citizens of the US are from these countries, but the systems within the countries are FUBAR (really missed up). Again, I tend to agree with Novak that true democracy has to come from within after many failures. I think they haven't failed enough.
Another problem is that most personalized coups are normally based on specific angst. Thus, let's say i hate how Macedonia subjects certain groups to unabated oppression. If i have the money i may seek out groups that i 'feel' would be good for Macedonia if they took over, and give them financial assistance. The problem with angst (as well as outright vendettas) is that the 'child with a new toy' syndrome soon pops up. Basically the coup is only effective until they take over (that is assuming they are successful). Once the government is toppled then what? Just because a group is comprised of successful usurpers does not mean it is comprised of effective leaders. To usurp and to lead are two different things altogether.
Now, imagine a worst case scenario where a George Soros character has a personal angst. To be honest with you i am surprised such things have not happened more often. A couple of billion (or even a few hundred million) burning a hole in one's pocket can make certain activities quite appealing.
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