Campbell Confirms Diamond Gift in Taylor Testimony

140 95 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… British model Naomi Campbell confirmed on Thursday that she was given a rough diamond gift in South Africa in 1997, but said she did not know if the diamonds were sent to her by Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported.

Campbell testified as a witness in the international tribunal against Taylor, 62, at The Hague. Taylor is accused of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for backing rebels who were responsible for committing atrocities during a civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. He denies the charges.

Campbell said that the diamonds were delivered in a pouch to her hotel room by two messengers late at night and that she did not ask who the package was from, according to DPA.

“It was late and I was tired,” she told the Sierra Leone war crimes court, adding that she only opened the package the next day. “I saw a few stones. They were very small dirty-looking stones.”

Campbell testified that at breakfast the following morning, U.S. actress Mia Farrow and Carol White, the model’s former agent, told her the stones were likely to be uncut diamonds that were “probably” sent to her by Taylor.

Campbell then decided to pass the stones on to the head of the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund that same day. The model said she was incredulous to hear last year that he still had the stones in his possession.

International prosecutor Brenda Hollis said she hoped Campbell’s statement would help prove that Taylor was in possession of blood diamonds mined in rebel areas and used to finance the purchase of arms worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Sierra Leone.

Farrow and White are set to testify Monday regarding the diamond gift. 


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