Chiswick man accused of masterminding coup

Mercenaries in Africa point finger at local management consultant

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The Independent on Sunday has named a local accountant and management consultant, Greg Wales, as the alleged mastermind of an attempt to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. The government of the oil rich but impoverished West African state wish to interview Mr. Wales after mercenaries involved in the failed coup claim he was responsible for organising the plot.

The African government have asked Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch to investigate Mr. Wales's role. He vehemently denies the accusations saying they are 'a joke'. He has long term business associations with Africa and was tendering for a US State Department contract to conduct anti-poaching and illegal fishing surveillance for the country.

His name was given to the authorities after 67 mercenaries were arrested in Zimbabwe. Mr Wales claims that the accusations are part of a deal between Robert Mugabe and President Obiang. Nick du Toit, who was amongst the mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe, told authorities there that the first person he spoke to about the coup was Greg Wales and that he was responsible for arranging financing. Mr du Toit, a South African national, was based in Equatorial Guinea, at the time when he claims Mr Wales approached him with the proposition to stage a coup.

Mr Wales doesn't deny meeting Mr. du Toit but says that their discussion was about rugby not a coup. He claims to be mystified why his name has cropped up in association with the plot but suggests that Mr. du Toit may be seeking to protect Afrikaaner associates.

Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. President Obiang has ruled the tiny country, composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands and one of the smallest countries on the African continent, since he seized power in a coup in 1979. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the 1996 and 2002 presidential elections - as well as the 1999 legislative elections - were widely seen as being flawed. The alleged plot would have brought exiled opposition leader Severo Moto to power.

May 16, 2004