Belfast Telegraph

Naomi's diamond evidence challenged

Naomi Campbell's evidence in the trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor has been dramatically challenged.

Actress Mia Farrow and Naomi's former agent Carole White both contradicted the model's account that she did not know who gave her a present of "blood diamonds".All three were present at a party in September 1997 hosted by Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, South Africa.

Giving evidence to the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, the Netherlands, Ms White said Naomi was flirting with Taylor during the dinner.

She said: "Naomi was very excited and told me 'He's going to give me some diamonds'."

She said she knew taking diamonds out of the country was illegal, adding: "I recall telling Naomi the next morning that we shouldn't take these diamonds and we should actually do something good with them and give them to the children's charity."

The next day Naomi handed the diamonds to Jeremy Ratcliffe, the former head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, a man she described as a "trusted friend".

Earlier, Mia also contradicted Naomi's account of what happened. She said when the model came down to breakfast the night after the party, she told the guests an "unforgettable" story.

Mia said: "Miss Campbell entered the room. She was quite excited and said in effect, 'Oh my God, in the middle of the night I was awoken by knocking at the door and it was men sent by Charles Taylor and he sent me a huge diamond.'"

Taylor, the former president of Liberia, is accused of war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil war, including using diamonds to fund rebels.He denies 11 charges, including murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday when Ms White's evidence will continue.

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