Simon Mann

Simon Mann

Simon Mann is a former special forces soldier and businessman. He is best known for his role in the so-called Wonga Coup, the 2004 attempt to oust Equatorial Guinea's leader. Mann is an expert on geopolitical risk and the African commodities market.

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Simon Mann's Biography

Simon Mann is a businessman, geopolitical risk consultant and former SAS soldier. Best known as the fall guy in a 2004 plot to oust Equatorial Guinea’s president Obiang, he has recently exposed the higher powers behind that attempted coup. 

Mann was a mercenary in more rough and ready times, before today’s industry leaders re-banded as “security contractors”. After leaving the British special forces, he worked in the oil industry in Angola. 

But his military skills came back to the fore when oil fields were seized by rebels. Mann formed Executive Outcomes, later known as Sandline International. The security company soon wrestled back control of the country, establishing itself as a formidable force which other interests would later rely on. 

A Mark Thatched-led consortium approached Mann in 2004 about overthrowing Equatorial Guinea’s dictatorial leader. President Obiang was accused of gross human rights abuses and squandering the country’s natural resources bounty. Experts believed the country could be an African Dubai with new strategic leadership. 

Simon Mann accepted the task and prepared to lead the coup. However, its plans were foiled before he could leave Zimbabwe. He was arrested and served over 3 years in jail there and a further 2 in Equatorial Guinea. 

Originally facing the death penalty, charges were eventually dropped. But he faced years of brutal treatment, including physical and psychological torture. His 2011 book Cry Havoc focused on these years as well as hinting at larger forces behind the plot. 

Mann has recently spoken about these other players. He recalls a meeting with Margaret Thatcher herself who encouraged him to “get on with it”. Mann also says the UK’s then Labour government gave tacit approval to the plans. 

Since returning to the UK, Mann has had a varied business career. He is a sought-after adviser on economic opportunities and risk in Africa, particularly regarding commodities’ projects. He is also the Chairman of Hydrogen Utopia, an innovative company turning plastic waste into hydrogen.


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