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The Gibraltar Chronicle ^ | April 2, 2008 | Brian Reyes

Posted on 04/03/2008 12:35:26 PM PDT by HAL9000

Local law enforcement sources were sceptical, yet cautious yesterday about a report alleging a Russian mafia plot to kidnap Sir Mark Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Sir Mark is currently on the Rock amid speculation that authorities in Equatorial Guinea will issue an international warrant for his arrest in connection with a failed coup in 2004.

In a further twist to an already bizarre tale, a specialist US newsletter claimed the British secret intelligence agency MI6 had warned Sir Mark that a powerful Russian criminal organisation had offered to kidnap him and take him to the West African state.

According to the G2 Bulletin, British agents based in the Costa del Sol intercepted telephone calls between a Russian gang called the Rising Sun and members of the African regime discussing Sir Mark's capture.

The gang was said to be established in Spain and involved in organising shipments of cocaine from Colombia into Europe via West Africa and the Iberian peninsula.

But in Gibraltar there is little hard evidence to suggest that either Sir Mark or British officials are concerned about a kidnap plot.

Sir Mark remarried here last week and went back to his rented Marbella villa on Friday, only to return to the Rock a day later.

On Monday he seemed relaxed when he spoke briefly to the Chronicle in the lobby of the Rock Hotel and said he would be in Gibraltar for a few days.

Security officials here looked into the kidnap report but were doubtful about its credibility.

"If there was really anything to this, he [Sir Mark] would have knocked on our door and asked for help," one senior source said.

That does not preclude the possibility that the report is based on fact, however.

Another official said: "If it is true, then obviously we're not going to broadcast it."

The government of Equatorial Guinea claims Sir Mark was directly involved in a failed plot to overthrow the country's president Teodoro Obian Nguema, a despotic dictator who himself overthrew his uncle's regime in 1979. Jose Olo Obono, the country's public prosecutor, claimed last week that a British mercenary facing trial there had testified that Sir Mark knew about the plot.

Sir Mark has in the past admitted chartering a helicopter for the mercenary but has denied plotting or knowingly financing the coup.

On Monday he dismissed any suggestion that his return to the Rock was over fears that Spain might accede to an extradition request from Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony.

The UK and Gibraltar do not have extradition arrangements with the oil-rich West African country.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; equatorialguinea; gibraltar; mafia; malabo; markthatcher; nguema; risingsun; russianmafia; simonmann; southafrica; thatcher; zimbabwe

1 posted on 04/03/2008 12:35:27 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000; cardinal4

Sounds like the plot to the latest Frederick Forsythe novel. Soon to be a major motion picture.

2 posted on 04/03/2008 12:40:05 PM PDT by Ax
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To: HAL9000; blam; UKrepublican; All

Whoa Blam you hear about this

3 posted on 04/03/2008 12:40:38 PM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us, resistence is futile")
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