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Timeline: the alleged 'wonga' coup

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 03 November 2009

How the 'wonga coup' unfolded: follow the events from Simon Mann's arrest to the present day.

Simon Mann (credit:Reuters)

3 November 2009
A statement on Equatorial Guinea's Ministry of Information website says that Mann has received a full pardon on humanitarian grounds.

7 July 2008
Mann is sentenced to 34 years in jail - 17 years for plotting to kill the president of Equatorial Guniea, 14 years for planning to overthrow the government and two years for declaring war on the country.

21 June 2008
Dramatic end to trial as Simon Mann tells the court that he had wanted to make a deal with the country's authorities in 2005.

19 June 2008
Mann pleads for clemency during last public opportunity to defend himself.

18 June 2008
Mann gives evidence. He turns on Mark Thatcher, who he says was "not just an investor" - to the tune of $350,000 - but "part of the management team". He also apologises for his part in the plot, and claims the Spanish and South African governments gave a "green light" to the project.

16 June 2008
On the eve of the trial, President Obiang calls Mann a "criminal bastard", says he believes western governments knew about the coup plot, and denies trading oil with Zimbabwe in return for Mann's extradition.

11 March 2008
"I was the manager," says Mann in his first public admission of involvement in the plot, though he claims he was not the "architect" or "the main man". Channel 4 News has to overturn an injunction brought in Britain by Simon Mann's wife to broadcast the exclusive interview.

7 February 2008
Mann will stand trial in Equatorial Guinea for allegedly plotting to overthrow the regime "through violence and terror'', an official statement says.

31 January 2008
Mann is confined to a tropical prison in Equatorial Guinea after the West African regime finally get their hands on the alleged mercenary, after his extradition from Zimbabwe.

13 January 2005
Sir Mark Thatcher leaves South Africa after pleading guilty over his involvement in an alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea. The son of former UK PM Margaret Thatcher is fined £265,000 and given a four-year suspended jail term.

3 January 2005
A star witness against Sir Mark Thatcher reveals the most detailed allegations yet of his role in the coup attempt, including claims that he helped test a helicopter for the operation.

19 December 2004
Equatorial Guinea threatens to take action against Britain in the International Court of Justice for not passing on intelligence of an alleged plot to stage a coup.

11 September 2004
Mann given a seven-year jail sentence in Zimbabwe for trying to buy weapons from the country's state arms manufacturer. The magistrate says: "The accused [Mann] was the author of the whole transaction. "He was caught while trying to take the firearms out of the country."

25 August 2004
South African police arrest Sir Mark Thatcher on suspicion of involvement in the Equatorial Guinea plot. He is charged with breaking the country's strict anti-mercenary laws.

28 July 2004
Mann pleads guilty to attempting to possess dangerous weapons.

27 July 2004
A total of 67 of the men arrested in March - being held in a Zimbabwean prison - plead guilty to a series of lesser charges involving immigration and aviation offences. Mann does not enter a plea.

31 March 2004
Mann writes a letter pleading with associates, including Sir Mark Thatcher, to get him out of prison.

10 March 2004
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang thanks South Africa and Angola for warning him of the alleged plot and says it was funded by "enemy powers" and multinational companies operating within his country.

7 March 2004
Seventy suspected mercenaries, including Mann, are arrested at Harare airport when they arrive in a Boeing 727, allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea to stage a coup.

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