x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Mandela Children's Fund trustee kept diamonds given to him by Naomi Campbell

A trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund says he kept three small uncut diamonds given to him by the supermodel, who testified about them at the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

A trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund said today that he kept three small uncut diamonds given to him by supermodel Naomi Campbell, who testified about them at a war crimes tribunal. She said yesterday at the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor that she assumed the former warlord had them delivered to her room following a celebrity dinner hosted by then South African president Mandela in September 1997.

Campbell told judges she gave the stones to Jeremy Ratcliffe, who worked for the Children's Fund, to "do something good with". But she claimed she spoke to Mr Ratcliffe last year, "and he still has them". In a statement, Mr Ratcliffe confirmed that he kept the stones and never gave them to the charity, which has denied ever receiving them. "Three small uncut diamonds were given to me by Naomi Campbell on the Blue Train on September 26, 1997," Mr Ratcliffe said, referring to the luxury train he travelled on with Campbell and other guests of Mandela.

Campbell had wanted the fund to use them, but Mr Ratcliffe said he did not want to involve the charity in any possible illegal activities. "In the end I decided I should just keep them," said Mr Ratcliffe, but added that he recently handed them over to South African authorities. Police said they received the stones yesterday. * AFP