The British supermodel took the stand at The Hague, Netherlands on Thursday (05Aug10) as part of Taylor’s ongoing war crimes trial to face allegations she accepted the illicit gems – which are used to fund conflicts – after a dinner party thrown by Nelson Mandela in 1997.
Campbell claimed she didn’t know what the “dirty stones” were or who had given them to her, while prosecutors claim the rocks were in fact blood diamonds, used to finance the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war.
The catwalk beauty claimed she didn’t keep the stones, but handed them to her friend Jeremy Ratcliffe, the former chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, to “do something good with”.
Ratcliffe has now issued a statement revealing he kept the diamonds as he didn’t want to involve his charity in any possible illegal activities, but recently turned them over to police in South Africa. He also confirmed he would be willing to testify at The Hague if necessary.
The statement reads, “Three small uncut diamonds were given to me by Naomi Campbell on… September 26, 1997… In the end I decided I should just keep them.”
A spokesman for the South African police, Musa Zondi, confirmed to the AFP that the stones had been received: “They were handed over to the police and now they have been sent to the diamond board for authentication. Obviously there has to be an investigation, but first we have to wait and get the diamonds authenticated before we can say anything.”