Model denies lying to court
SUPERMODEL Naomi Campbell insisted she had ""nothing to gain"" from providing false testimony at the war crimes trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor about suspected blood diamonds. ""I"ve no motive here. Nothing to gain,"" she said in a statement yesterday from London.
Actor Mia Farrow and Campbell"s former agent Carole White both told the tribunal judges earlier this week the model had accepted a gift of diamonds from Taylor after a charity dinner at the home of Nelson Mandela in 1997, and boasted about it the next day.
But White"s testimony has been branded ""a complete pack of lies"" by Taylor"s counsel after she admitted that parts of her evidence linking him to a gift of diamonds to the model were based on assumptions. White admitted telling prosecutors in May that she had heard the former warlord tell the British supermodel that he was going to ""send her diamonds"". She admitted in court that she had not.
""I can"t recall those words,"" she said. She had interpreted a nod from Mr Taylor to Campbell as a sign of ""acquiescence"" from the warlord to the model. Campbell told the trial in The Hague last week she did not know who had sent her the uncut gems.
According to White, Campbell and Taylor had flirted throughout a charity dinner hosted by South Africa"s then president Nelson Mandela. ""She told me: "He is going to give me some diamonds","" White said in her testimony this week. ""She was very excited.""
Campbell told judges last Thursday that two men brought a pouch containing two or three ""dirty-looking stones"" to her bedroom at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria. She said she did not know who the gift came from, but ""assumed"" it was from Taylor.
Prosecutors are trying to link the gift to Taylor, whom they accuse of having taken a consignment of uncut diamonds to South Africa ""to sell … or exchange for weapons"" for Sierra Leone rebels. Taylor, 62, is on trial for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone civil war that claimed 120,000 lives.
He is accused of receiving illegally mined ""blood diamonds"" to finance rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leone civilians, amputating their limbs and carving initials on their bodies. White told the judges she had assumed Taylor had arranged with the model to deliver the diamonds to her room. Taylor"s barrister, Courtenay Griffiths, QC, suggested White was trying to discredit Campbell"s testimony because of a separate lawsuit over an alleged breach of contract.