Mark Thatcher in loan shark probe
POLICE in South Africa were ordered yesterday to investigate allegations that Mark Thatcher has been running a ``loan-shark'' operation among low-paid government officials.
Thatcher (45), who settled in South Africa two years ago after business difficulties in the US, has made small loans to 900 policemen, military personnel and civil servants, operating from his home in Constantia, Cape Town.
Investigations by South African newspapers disclosed that his company, Matrix Capital, used police officers as ``book-runners'' to make loans and collect debts. Angered by the reports, the son of former British premier Margaret Thatcher voluntarily called at police headquarters in Cape Town last night to discuss the allegations with senior detectives.
The reports claimed that, charging a monthly interest rate of 20pc, the business had more than £220,000 in outstanding debts owed by clients ``trapped in a mire of debt they have little prospect of repaying''.
(Daily Telegraph, London)