Naomi's Blood Diamonds Handed Over to Cops

Official with Mandela fund had kept them
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2010 11:47 AM CDT
Naomi's Blood Diamonds Handed Over to Cops
In this image made from television, Naomi Campbell is seen testifying about her gift of diamonds.   (AP Photo/Special Court for Sierra Leone, via APTN)

For those following the trail of Naomi Campbell's so-called blood diamonds: mystery solved. She testified yesterday at the war crimes trial of Liberia's Charles Taylor that she received three such uncut diamonds, almost certainly from Taylor, in 1997. Today, the Guardian reports that Campbell then handed them over to an official with Nelson Mandela's children's fund, who kept them all these years. He turned them over to South African authorities yesterday.

"I took them because I thought it might well be illegal for her to take uncut diamonds out of the country," said Jeremy Ractliffe in a statement. "Naomi suggested they could be of some benefit to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund but I told her I would not involve the NMCF in anything that could possibly be illegal. In the end I decided I should just keep them." Ractliffe said he wanted to protect the reputation of Mandela, Campbell, and the fund and is willing to testify at Taylor's trial. It's unclear whether Ractliffe himself will face charges. (More Naomi Campbell stories.)

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