Campbell diamond testimony under the spotlight

Sun Aug 8, 2010 7:41am EDT
 
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By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - British supermodel Naomi Campbell's testimony at the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor will be put to the test on Monday when her former agent is expected to contradict her over a gift of diamonds.

Carole White will appear at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague to testify over a late-night gift Campbell received in 1997 after both of them had attended a charity dinner hosted by South Africa's then-President Nelson Mandela.

Taylor, on trial for war crimes in The Hague, was also at the dinner. White previously told the prosecution that Campbell and Taylor were "mildly flirtatious" with each other and that she heard Taylor tell Campbell he was going to send her some diamonds.

"Ms Campbell seemed excited about the diamonds and she kept talking about them," White said in testimony read out to the court.

White recalled that Campbell was later given "a scrubby piece of paper" containing about six small greyish pebbles, but that Campbell "was disappointed because she thought she was going to get a big shiny diamond and these just looked like pebbles."

For her part, Farrow has also told the prosecution that Campbell came to breakfast with an "unforgettable" story that two or three men had given her "a large diamond" which they said was from Taylor.

Prosecutors are trying to link the diamonds to Taylor, 62, to prove allegations that he received diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone, which they say he then used to buy weapons during the 1997 trip to South Africa. Taylor denies the allegations.

"Blood diamonds" are diamonds mined in conflict zones and sold to fund warring parties.   Continued...