Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Campbell 'knew gem was from Taylor'

Naomi Campbell gave evidence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Netherlands

Naomi Campbell's former agent has been giving evidence at the war crimes trial of former Liberia leader Charles Taylor.

Carole White told the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, the Netherlands, that the model and Taylor were "mildly flirting" during a dinner for Nelson Mandela's children's charity.

Campbell said she was seated next to Mr Mandela. Ms White said she was between Taylor and a man she believed to be Liberia's minister for defence.

She said that, at one point, Campbell leaned back and told her Taylor was going to give her a gift of diamonds. She said: "Naomi was very excited and told me, 'He's going to give me some diamonds'."

She added that Taylor was leaning forward, "smiling and nodding in agreement".

Ms White, who is suing Campbell for breach of contract, said the model owed her about 600,000 US dollars (£375,935) in lost earnings over the past two years. She would also have made hundreds of thousands of dollars more in the future if the contract had not been terminated.

Courtenay Griffiths, defending Taylor, said Ms White had a "very powerful motive for lying" about Campbell. He said: "I suggest that your motive in lying about Naomi Campbell is to provide you with ammunition for use against her in the law suit."

Ms White said: "That's not true."

Earlier at the trial, Hollywood actress Mia Farrow claimed that Campbell named Charles Taylor as the person who gave her a "huge diamond". Farrow contradicted Campbell's account that she was given two or three "dirty looking pebbles" but did not know what they were or who they were from.

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.

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