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Former British PM's son fined for role in Equatorial Guinea coup plot

[JURIST] Mark Thatcher [BBC profile], the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has been fined 3 million rand ($500,000) by a court in South Africa in connection with his role in a plot [BBC Q&A] to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea [official website; US State Department backgrounder]. If he fails to pay the fine he faces a five-year prison term, in addition to a further 4-year suspended sentence. Thatcher, a wealthy businessman, was charged with helping to finance the coup contrary to the terms of South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act [text]. As anticipated yesterday [JURIST report], he entered a guilty plea in court in Cape Town Thursday morning. Reuters has more. From South Africa, the Mail & Guardian newspaper provides local coverage. The Cape Town Cape Argus reports that Thatcher is shortly expected to leave South Africa for the United States.

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