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Campbell diamonds passed to police

A charity official given alleged blood diamonds by model Naomi Campbell has said he passed them on to police.

Jeremy Ratcliffe was given the "dirty-looking pebbles" by Campbell following a star-studded party hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in September 1997.

Campbell, 40, told the war crimes trial of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor on Thursday that she was presented with the gift after being woken by two men in the middle of night following the charity dinner.

She said the stones were in her possession for about six hours before she handed them to Mr Ratcliffe, then the head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF).

The court heard the charity had no record of any such gift but Campbell said she understood Mr Ratcliffe was still in possession of the stones. In a statement issued on Thursday, the charity said it had been unable to locate Mr Ratcliffe.

But Mr Ratcliffe came forward on Friday to say he had passed the gems to police in South Africa. He said he had "just kept" the three small uncut stones until recently after telling Campbell it might be illegal to export them.

Mr Ratcliffe said he had not told NMCF about the stones and confirmed Campbell had suggested giving them to the charity.

He said: "I told her I would not involve the NMCF in anything that could possibly be illegal. In the end, I decided I should just keep them."

In a statement, he said he did not report the matter to the fund or anyone else "to protect the reputation of the NMCF, Mr Mandela himself and Naomi Campbell, none of whom were benefiting in any way".

Campbell is said to have received a "blood diamond" from Taylor, who has denied charges including criminal responsibility for murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers. He also rejects allegations that he possessed or carried rough diamonds

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