Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mark Thatcher & Simon Mann's African Coup

"Scratcher" Is Implicated

Mark Thatcher, 2004
Mark Thatcher, 2004

After his arrest, Mann gave a signed statement that read, "Ely Calil asked me if I would like to meet Severo Moto... At this stage they asked me if I could help escort Severo Moto home at a given moment while simultaneously there would an uprising of both military and civilians against Obiang... I agreed to try and help the cause."

But it was in another document that Mann first raised Mark Thatcher's name — or, more precisely, his nickname of "Scratcher" — in connection with the abortive coup.

Two weeks after his arrest, Mann attempted to smuggle a note out of Zimbabwe's Chikurubi prison, where he was being held, to his wife in Cape Town. South African intelligence intercepted the note, scribbled on several scraps of paper.

It read:

Chikurubi prison
Chikurubi prison

"Our situation is not good and it is very URGENT. They (his lawyers) get no reply from Smelly and Scratcher. Asked them to ring back after the Grand Prix race was over! This is not going well!

"It may be that getting us out comes down to a large splodge of wonga (slang for a pile of money)! Of course investors did not think this would happen... Do they think they can be part of something like this with only upside potential — no hardship or risk of this going wrong. Anyone and everyone in this is in it — good times or bad. Now it's bad times and everyone has to F-ing well pull their full weight.

"We need heavy influence of the sort that — Smelly, Scratcher... David Hart — and it needs to be used heavily and now. Once we get into a real trial scenario we are f****d."

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