UK businessman sued for coup

2004-09-10 19:29

London - The government of Equatorial Guinea is suing a Lebanese oil millionaire living in London who is alleged to have helped finance a coup attempt in Malabo in March, the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

Elie Khalil, 58, "who is being sued in London by the Equatorial Guinean regime, is alleged to have raised another $750 000" to finance the plot, the British daily said.

His name appears on the so-called "wonga list", written by one of those involved, which claims to name those who financed the coup bid and which reportedly had been handed over to the South African police, according to the document the daily said it had seen.

The name of Mark Thatcher, son of Britain's former conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, is not on the list, according to the Guardian.

Thatcher, 51, is suspected of having bankrolled the plot. The South African police claimed he sent $275 000 to the alleged mastermind of the plot, Briton Simon Mann, who was sentenced to seven years in jail in Zimbabwe on weapons charges.

Four others on the list - claim

Thatcher has denied any involvement in the Malabo case.

The Guardian said Khalil's solicitor did not want to respond to the claim that he had raised money for the plotters, but he denied any knowledge of the plot.

According to the "wonga list", Mann allegedly contributed $500 000.

Four other men appear on the list, each allegedly raising $500 000, the Guardian said.

These are Khalil associate Karim Fallaha, London-based businessman Greg Wales, London-based property dealer Gary Hersham as well as David Tremain, a British businessman based in South Africa.

The daily said it was unable to contact Fallaha on Thursday, but that the three others denied any involvement in the coup plot.