Mark Thatcher’s Ronda hideout, a kidnap threat and an African overthrow plot

LAST UPDATED: 30 Jul, 2008 @ 17:51
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Mark ThatcherSir Mark is hiding out in fear of being seized to face trial in the Equitorial Guinea plot, now linked to Spain’s ex-PM Jose Maria Aznar

MARK THATCHER is hiding out in a gated community on the Ronda-San Pedro road in fear of being kidnapped.

He fears an international snatch squad has been ordered to extradite him to Equatorial Guinea to face trial in an overthrow plot, he allegedly helped to fund.

This week fellow plot leader Simon Mann was found guilty and sentenced to 34 years in jail.

The son of former UK PM Margaret Thatcher rarely leaves his £3million bolthole in exclusive El Madronal, which has round-the-clock security.

He has installed a series of high-tech security systems in the home, that is owned by a former school friend Stephen Humberstone.

But now his days are numbered after Humberstone ordered him to leave the home he has rented since 2005 over unpaid bills.

Claiming he is three months in arrears to the tune of over 20,000 euros, Mr. Humberstone this week reportedly plans to serve court papers on him via the San Pedro courts.

Mr Humberstone, a London-based developer, said: “I want him off my property as soon as possible. If you see him, punch him in the face for me.

“I have absolutely no idea why a man as wealthy as him, who can still drive a Porsche, cannot pay his rent.

“All I can think is that he has no money. After talking to Mark I get the feeling he is receiving an allowance from his elderly mother.

“He always likes to pay in cash and even though the villa had maximum security he has fitted even more alarm systems. That shows how scared he is because he is a nasty piece of work and he is not liked.

“Despite all this he can still afford a driver and a cook – so why can he not pay his rent?”

Sir Mark, 54, who is estimated to be worth £64million, denies that he is behind in his rent and insists he has received nothing in writing from his landlord.

But a spokesman admitted he was taking the kidnap threat seriously. “Sir Mark has consulted the security services, who are aware of it. Equatorial Guinea has no power to enforce an extradition order.”

He added: “Of course Sir Mark is concerned about possible kidnap attempts. He would not be normal otherwise.”

According to sources Thatcher’s every move is being tracked by the oil-rich African nation, which is determined to jail him over claims that he financed the botched coup in 2004.

Former SAS officer Mann, 56, was jailed and fined 120,000 euros on Monday for his part in organising the coup. Old Etonian Mann claimed Sir Mark was one of four men in charge of the operation, as well as an investor.

Intriguingly, he revealed how Spain, as well South Africa and the CIA, had approved the plot.

He explained how coup plotters had been promised immediate diplomatic recognition by the centre-Right Spanish government of Jose Maria Aznar if they suceeded in overthrowing Obiang.

He claimed Spain had also promised to send a contingent of soldiers to help in the tidy up.

Mann said the plotters had rushed to try to carry out the coup before March 14, 2004, the date of the Spanish general election as they feared Aznar would lose, which he did.

Now Guinea will launch prosecution proceedings against Sir Mark this week.

Its attorney general claims Sir Mark supplied aircraft as well as cash. “We will use all legal means to bring Mark Thatcher to face trial,” he said.

Alarmingly for Thatcher there are an estimated 120 international mafia gangs operating on the Costa del Sol, each capable of undertaking kidnap plots.

In 2005 there were a reported 50 plus kidnappings and “settling of accounts” on the coast.

In 2004 a Lithuanian gang kidnapped British businessman Frank Capa in broad daylight on the Ronda-San Pedro road.

The gang released him after nine days when the family paid a reported £1m
ransom.

A police source told the Olive Press: “There are quite a few groups of former soldiers from the Eastern Bloc, highly-trained with no money, and prepared to carry out these sort of crimes.

“There have been an alarming number of kidnappings over the last few years, most of them going unreported.”

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