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I have nothing to gain from lying about blood diamonds - Naomi

Naomi Campbell said she had "nothing to gain" from lying during her evidence to the war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.

The supermodel defended herself in a statement last night after actress Mia Farrow and her former agent Carole White finished giving their evidence to the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.

Both contradicted Campbell's account that she did not know who gave her the gift of diamonds which she was handed after a party hosted by Nelson Mandela in September 1997.

Campbell (40) said: "I've no motive here. Nothing to gain.

"I am a black woman who has and will always support good causes especially relating to Africa.

"I've never taken any of the jobs offered to me, over my 25 years as a model, from companies that were for apartheid in South Africa."

Campbell, who gave evidence last Thursday, was criticised for telling the court her appearance was a "big inconvenience".

The statement, from The Outside Organisation, said: "Campbell accepts the use of the word 'inconvenient' was a poor choice of word but it was made off the cuff and was taken massively out of context.

"It was in relation to a nonsensical question as to whether or not she was nervous appearing in court!

"Campbell had explained that she had fears for her family having read about Taylor's alleged crimes on the internet, hence her initial reticence in appearing.

"Regardless of people's recollections it's indisputable and has been confirmed by all witnesses concerned that Naomi handed over the diamonds at the first possible opportunity for the benefit of a South African children's charity."

The statement said Campbell was a "long-time supporter of charity work in Africa", adding: "The suggestion that Campbell in some way doesn't care about the plight of those suffering in Africa is ridiculous and hurtful."

In court yesterday, Ms White insisted Campbell knew that it was Taylor who had sent two men to her room in the night to give her the precious stones.

She said the model and the former warlord flirted with each other over dinner and arranged for the gift to be delivered.

But defence lawyer Courtenay Griffiths pointed out that Ms White is in a legal dispute with Campbell over alleged unpaid royalties for a perfume deal. He quoted Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's 1982 hip-hop single The Message, saying: "Put bluntly, for you this is all about money, there ain't nothing funny."

Ms White, co-founder of Premier Model Management, replied: "It's totally the truth. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my business argument with Naomi Campbell."

She also said she was present at the end of the meal when Campbell and one of Taylor's ministers discussed how the jewels would be delivered to the model.

hnews@herald.ie


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