South African police have confirmed that the stones supermodel Naomi Campbell received from Charles Taylor in 1997 were indeed real diamonds, a spokesman said.
AFP - South African police said Saturday the uncut gems Naomi Campbell received after meeting Liberian strongman Charles Taylor at a 1997 charity dinner are real diamonds and that they may question the model.
"They are real diamonds, handed back to us now, and the investigation begins," said Musa Zondi, spokesman for the special investigations unit of the South African police, after having had them authenticated by an expert.
Campbell testified Thursday at Taylor's war crimes trial in The Hague that she had received the "dirty-looking stones" after a 1997 dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela, which she assumed were from the then Liberian president.
She donated them to Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, but its former director Jeremy Ratcliffe kept the stones, and surrendered them to South African police on Thursday.
Zondi said they may need to question Campbell regarding the diamonds.
"It would depend on the information we have and the information we still need," he said. "There is no cut and dried (that) this will happen or won't happen."
Taylor, Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone that claimed some 120,000 lives.
Campbell was called as a witness by the prosecution, which claims the stones were blood diamonds mined illegally to raise money to buy arms.
Date created : 2010-08-07