Old Etonian and mercenary Simon Mann has been released from his prison cell in Equitorial New Guinea only one year into his 34 year sentence after plotting a coup in the African country.
The coup attempt that implicated an assortment of British political and business figures was nothing short of a farce from start to finish that could have come from the pages of any public schoolboys fantasy rag.
Here are just some of the lovely characters allegedly involved in the coup attempt.
Sir Mark Thatcher
In August 25, 2004 , Mark Thatcher, the son of the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was arrested under anti-mercenary laws in South Africa after being accused of helping to finance the coup to remove President Obiang. : Crause Steyl was one of the pilots picked to fly the key planners of the coup in a chartered King 200 twin turbo prop aircraft, registered ZS-NBJ, who later turned prosecution witness in South Africa.
Crause Steyl: “I met Mark (Thatcher) three or four times. He was a partner in the venture. He put in about $250,000. The money was wired to my company account in various installments. The helicopters cost about $600 an hour plus $5,000 each for the pilots and $10,000 a month for special insurance.” 
Thatcher has admitted putting money into Steyl’s company, Triple A Aviation, but he has said it was to cover the cost of an air ambulance project. Steyl dismissed this explanation. “He knew what was going on,” he said. “I only knew him in the context of the Equatorial Guinea business. I didn’t know him before and I haven’t met him since.”
On October 13, 2004 in London, a lawyer for the Equatorial Guinea government said that telephone records showed four calls between the homes of one of the alleged financiers behind the plot, Ely Calil, and Lord Archer in the run-up to the coup attempt in March. Another alleged plotter, Greg Wales, also made five calls to Sir Mark Thatcher in the days after the failed coup.
On 13 January 2005, Mark Thatcher, in a South African court, pleaded guilty to helping finance a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea. South African police were able to prove that Mr Thatcher had transferred about US$285,000 to the mercenaries that were to execute the operation and had met and talked frequently to them prior to the coup attempt. After pleading guilty, he was given a four-year suspended sentence and a fine of about US$ 560,000. 
Simon Mann paid $500,000 (£281,000) towards the plot, according to a list of alleged financiers in the hands of the South African police.
Ely Calil, the Chelsea-based Lebanese oil billionaire who is being sued in London by the Equatorial Guinea regime, is alleged to have raised another $750,000. Mr Calil’s solicitor said that he did not wish to respond to the claim that he had raised money for the plotters. But he denied any knowledge of the plot.
Karim Fallaha was a Lebanese associate of Mr Calil. He is a director of Asian Trading and Investment in Beirut, which signed a contract with Simon Mann to invest $5m in West African projects. Other than the appearance of his name on the list, there is nothing to suggest he had any involvement in the coup.
David Tremain, a South Africa-based British businessman, is alleged to have raised $500,000. Mr Tremain is alleged to have been “fronting” for a syndicate of South African and other minor investors. Tremain denies any involvement in the coup.
Bank details of Simon Mann’s Guernsey firm, Logo Logistics, reveal that a JH Archer made a payment of $134,000 (£74,000) into his account in the days before the failed coup attempt. Lord Archer initially issued a statement through his lawyers stating that he had “no prior knowledge” of the alleged coup and that he had not spoken to Sir Mark for “approximately 10 years”.
In January, on the same day the plotters were meeting at Sandton, outside Johannesburg, Ely Calil called Lord Archer and the pair apparently spoke for 15 minutes. Other calls followed in the run-up to the coup attempt. A lawyer for the Equatorial Guinea government said in London that telephone records showed four calls between Ely Calil and Lord Archer in the run-up to the coup attempt in March.
Prosecutors said Equatorial Guinea’s opposition leader, Severo Moto, based in Spain, offered the group $1.8m and oil rights to overthrow the government.
Timothy Bell, Lady Thatcher’s former spin doctor, is linked to the case by “advising” Mr Mann’s friends. Baron Bell has said that as far as he was aware neither Sir Mark nor Mr Hart were involved in the alleged coup.
Greg Wales / US administration
President Obiang accused the US of backing the plot, but the Pentagon denies supporting it. US officials say it was Greg Wales who made all the approaches to them. Greg Wales, a London-based property dealer, is alleged to have raised $500,000. Equatorial Guinea official sources claim that in November 2006, when the plot was in its early stages, an Old Etonian mercenary, Simon Mann, paid Mr Wales about $8,000. Mr Wales denies any involvement in the coup.
Theresa Whelan, a member of the Bush administration in charge of African affairs at the Pentagon, twice met a London-based businessman, Greg Wales, in Washington before the coup attempt. Mr Wales has been accused of being one of its organisers, but has denied any involvement. source Wikipedia
Today Mann was given “a complete presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds” and one can be certain we’ve yet to hear the full story.
As usual the likes of the Telegraphs Damien McElroy are first to portray Mann as some kind of ‘victim’ instead of the mercenary savage opportunist that he his.
No doubt we’ll have to endure endless interviews on radio and TV aswell as book serialisations in the daily rags.
Atleast when Mann was banged up there was one less arrogant pompous ass to endure.
Bad form Equitorial Guinea, bad form!