Campbell said she got 'huge diamond' from Taylor: Mia Farrow

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

US actress Mia Farrow said Monday that Naomi Campbell had named Charles Taylor as the man who sent a "huge diamond" to the supermodel's room in 1997, during testimony in the Liberian ex-president's war crimes trial.

"She (Campbell) said that in the night she had been awakened. Some men were knocking at her door. They were sent by Charles Taylor and they had given her a huge diamond," Farrow told a special tribunal in The Hague.

Farrow as well as Campbell's former agent, Carole White, have been called to testify Monday about a charity dinner hosted by then South African president Nelson Mandela in September 1997, after which two men brought a parcel of diamonds to Campbell's room at a guesthouse.

The two women have both contradicted Campbell's evidence to the court last Thursday that she did not know who had sent her the late-night gift.

Prosecutors are trying to link the gift to Taylor, whom they accuse of having taken a consignment of rough diamonds to South Africa "to sell... or exchange them for weapons" for Sierra Leone rebels.

Wearing a dark pin-stripe suit, Farrow said in the witness stand that Campbell had talked of the gift at breakfast the next morning.

The model was smiling and "seemed excited, happy", as she told the group of the gift she said she "intended to give to Nelson Mandela's children's charities", the actress said.

Campbell had told judges that the men gave her a pouch containing two or three "dirty-looking stones", which South African police have since identified as rough diamonds.

But she insisted she did not know who the gift came from, though she "assumed" it was Taylor.

"Naomi Campbell said they came from Charles Taylor," Farrow insisted.

She told the court she remembered the model referring to only one diamond, adding: "There could have been dozens. I don't know how many diamonds there were. I didn't see them."

Campbell never said the diamond or diamonds were in the rough, Farrow added.

Asked why she had not come forward before being approached by the prosecution last year, Farrow said she did not know the incident would be "so consequential".

"Yes, I regret that I didn't put it together earlier, I suppose."

White, who took the stand just minutes before the tribunal's hour-long lunch break, is also expected to challenge Campbell's version of events, having told prosecutors that Taylor and her ex-protegee were "mildly flirtatious" throughout the dinner, and that she heard him promise the model a gift of diamonds.

"It was arranged that he would send some men back with the gift," state the notes of an interview prosecutors had with White in May.

White, who said she witnessed the delivery of about six small gems to the model, "thought that Ms Campbell was disappointed because she thought she was going to get a big shiny diamond and these just looked like pebbles".

Taylor, 62, is on trial for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone civil war that claimed some 120,000 lives.

He is accused of receiving illegally mined "blood diamonds" for arming rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leone civilians, amputating their limbs and carving initials on their bodies.

"If indeed he is guilty of the crimes he is accused of, I am gratified that he is involved in (this) procedure," Farrow told the court.

Jeremy Ratcliffe, a former director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, has since confirmed that Campbell gave him the rough diamonds which he handed over to police last Thursday.

South African police say they may want to question the model.

© 2010 AFP

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