Mark Thatcher admits coup role in plea bargain, The Guardian,Thursday January 13, 2005

Mark Thatcher today admitted his role in a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea under a plea bargain that saves him from prison.
The Cape Town high court ordered the son of the former prime minister to pay a 3m rand (£265,000) fine and gave him a four-year suspended prison sentence. Judge Abe Motala warned Thatcher that if he does not pay the fine he will face a five-year prison sentence with a further four years suspended for five years.

"save me mummy"

Born with twin Carol on August 15, 1953

· Left Harrow with three O levels. Did not go to university and studied to be a chartered accountant but failed exams three times

· Set up Mark Thatcher Racing in 1977, which hit financial problems. In 1982 got lost in the Sahara during rally, sparking international rescue operation

· In 1984 his mother, then prime minister, defended him in the Commons over reported involvement in £300m contract to build university in Oman

· Moved to Texas in 1984. Married Diane Bergdorf, daughter of millionaire car dealer, in 1987

· Faced allegations of racketeering in a multi-million civil action in US in 1994. Settled out of court

· Moved to South Africa in 1995, where he came under investigation by authorities over loans schemes in 1998

· Arrested last August by South African police over a failed coup in Equatorial Guinea, and said later: "I feel like a cork floating down the Colorado river."

Poolside plots: the chronicle of a coup foretold

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