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Naomi Campbell could face charges over 'blood diamonds'

Discussion in 'Celebrities Forum' started by ngoshwe, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. ngoshwe

    ngoshwe JF-Expert Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Joined: Mar 31, 2009
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    Naomi Campbell could face charges for possessing 'illegal' uncut diamonds which she later handed over to the head of one of former South African leader Nelson Mandela's charities, police in South Africa say.

    Naomi Campbell and Charles Taylor Photo: REX

    The model's role in the affair is being examined along with all those who came into contact with the three uncut diamonds which are now in police custody.

    Possession of an uncut diamond is a criminal offence in South Africa with penalties ranging from a hefty fine to ten years imprisonment for repeat offenders.

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    Campbell gave evidence at the war crimes tribunal of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor last week in which she said she was given the "dirty-looking pebbles" by two men who knocked on her door in the middle of the night following a dinner in Pretoria hosted by Mr Mandela.
    She said she did not know where the stones came from, but handed them to Jeremy Ractliffe, the then head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, the following day suggesting he "make sure children benefit from them".
    He has since admitted that he had kept the diamonds – which he suspected might be illegal – hidden in a safe ever since to protect the reputations of Campbell and Mr Mandela.
    The prosecution in Mr Taylor's war crimes tribunal at The Hague allege that the diamonds given to Campbell came from the Liberian leader and were "blood diamonds", which he traded to fund a brutal war carried out by insurgents in Liberia's neighbouring Sierra Leone.

    They suspect that when he attended the dinner with Campbell on September 25, 1997, he was in South Africa to arrange an arms shipment, in return for diamonds, that arrived to fuel the Sierra Leone conflict in October 1997, just days later.
    Yesterday, the model, who was born in Streatham, South East London, was pictured relaxing on holiday in Sardinia with boyfriend,

    Russian billionaire Vladimir Doronin, and actor Leonardo Di Caprio.
    Di Caprio was the star of the film Blood Diamond, which rose awareness about the issue of diamonds being used to fund the conflict in Sierra Leone.

    Musa Zondi, the spokesman for South Africa's elite Hawks criminal investigation unit which collected the diamonds from Mr Ractliffe's home last week, said detectives were looking at all those who came into contact with the uncut diamonds, including Campbell, and would seek to question all parties involved.

    He said that tests on the diamonds had failed to confirm whether they were, as is suspected, from Sierra Leone and police would now seek to establish their origin through its own investigations. Police are also expected to look at whether the parties who had contact with the diamonds knew that possessing them was illegal when considering possible charges.

    "We are investigating an offence and who might have committed it," he said. "We need all the facts and can't make the determination without them.
    "The decision on who to prosecute, that's the job of the prosecuting authority. All we can do is to get all the facts and offer our conclusion."

    Giving evidence at The Hague yesterday, Campbell's former agent Carole White said she stood by her evidence that she heard Mr Taylor tell the 40-year-old model that he would give her a gift of diamonds after the two spent the evening flirting.

    She was challenged by Mr Taylor's defence lawyer Courtenay Griffiths QC that she had made up the allegation that Campbell had accepted diamonds knowing they were from Mr Taylor because of a lawsuit involving the model over a broken perfume promotion contract that had been worth £2 million over the last decade.

    "Your account is a complete pack of lies. You made it up in order to assist in your lawsuit against Miss Campbell. Put bluntly, for you this is all about money," Mr Griffiths told Miss White, the founder of the London-based Premier model agency.
    "It has absolutely nothing to do with my business argument with Naomi Campbell. This not about money this is about a very serious matter," she replied.

    Mr Taylor, Liberia's former president, is the first African leader to face a war crimes trial, and indicted with 11 charges including murder, rape and sexual slavery – all of which he denies. The case continues.

    Naomi Campbell in The Hague for Charles Taylor trial for war crimes

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    YouTube - ‪Naomi Campbell in The Hague for Charles Taylor trial for war crimes 5of6‬‎