Campbell denies false testimony
Supermodel Campbell defends her statements at the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor.
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2010 08:21 GMT
Actress Mia Farrow, pictured, contradicted the testimony of Campbell at the war crimes trial

Naomi Campbell, the British supermodel, has denied giving false testimony at the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, Liberia's ex-president, insisting she had "nothing to gain".

"I've no motive here. Nothing to gain," Naomi Campbell said in a statement released in London on Tuesday.

She defended her testimony after Carole White, her former agent, and Mia Farrow, a US actress and human rights activist, both told the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague on Monday that Campbell had accepted a gift of diamonds from Taylor and boasted about it the next day.

The model, however, testified that she did not know who the "dirty-looking pebbles" were coming from but later "assumed" they were from Taylor.

In Tuesday's statement, Campbell also conceded that she had slipped up when she told judges coming to court was a "big inconvenience".

"I am a black woman who has and will always support good causes, especially relating to Africa."

'Huge diamond'

Farrow told the court on Monday she had heard Campbell say that Taylor had given her a "huge diamond" following a 1997 charity dinner in South Africa, at which Taylor was also a guest.

in depth

  Why Campbell had to testify
  Profile: Charles Taylor

The actress said she had seen Campbell join a group of guests at breakfast after the dinner, hosted by Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, and that Campbell had started telling a story about an event that had happened overnight.

Carole White, Campbell's former modelling agent, who also attended the breakfast, also gave evidence on Monday that contradicted the model's version of events.

White said Campbell and Taylor, seated near each other at the dinner, had flirted during the meal.

At one point, "she [Campbell] told me he is going to give me some diamonds," White said. "She was very excited."

Investigation under way

Prosecutors had called the model to testify in the hope that she could provide evidence that Taylor had handled diamonds allegedly used to purchase weapons during the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone civil war.

Taylor is on trial on charges of murder, rape, mutilation, sexual slavery and conscription of child soldiers during wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in which more than 250,000 people were killed.

Campbell told the court that she later gave the stones to Jeremy Ratcliffe, a representative of a Mandela charity.

Ratcliffe, the trustee of Nelson Mandela's charity in South Africa, issued a statement on Friday saying that following Campbell's testimony the previous day he had handed over to authorities three alleged "blood diamonds" given to him by the model.

Musa Zondi, a spokesman for the special investigations unit of the South African police, confirmed the authenticity of the diamonds.

"They are real diamonds, handed back to us now, and the investigation begins," he said.

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