Former SAS man Simon Mann takes up post with dictator he tried to depose
Simon Mann's incarceration in a brutal prison for attempting to overthrow one of the most notorious dictators in Africa was turned into an international cause celebre in a long and vocal campaign by family friends.
The former SAS officer is now free and has just taken up his first proper “day job” since his release: working for that very same ruler he was determined to depose, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
At the time of the bungled coup, Mr Mann is said to have declared to his friends that he was helping to deliver the people of the benighted nation from the depredations of their appalling leader, who had been accused, among other things, of being a cannibal.
Sceptics accused the Old Etonian adventurer of being much more interested in the rewards he could gain in a country which had one of the largest deposits of oil in the continent.
It remains unclear at just what point Mr Mann decided that President Obiang was not such a bad chap after all and was someone he could do business with.
But after he was released from prison 33 years early (from a 34-year sentence), he insisted that he had been treated “like a guest, not a prisoner”.
Since then, Mr Mann has not made any public comments, supposedly at the strong request of the Foreign Office, which helped obtain his pardon from President Obiang.
However his wife, Amanda, in an interview with Tatler magazine, described the President as a “lovely, lovely man”.
This is not a view shared by Amnesty International who strongly condemned the execution of four opponents three months ago following a trial it described as “a travesty”.