Naomi Campbell says "nothing to gain" from diamonds

LONDON Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:55pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Supermodel Naomi Campbell said on Tuesday she had nothing to gain from being untruthful in her testimony about alleged "blood diamonds" and said suggestions she did not care about suffering in Africa were hurtful.

In a statement issued five days after testifying in The Hague at the war crimes trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, Campbell described herself as "a black woman who has and will always support good causes, especially relating to Africa."

"I've no motive here. Nothing to gain," she said.

Campbell, 40, said last week that she was given some "dirty looking pebbles" after a 1997 charity dinner she attended with Taylor and others but did not know if they were blood diamonds or who they were from. She handed them to a South African charity the next day.

Testimony on Monday by actress Mia Farrow and model agent Carole White, who were also at the dinner, contradicted parts of her evidence.

"Naomi Campbell was in South Africa helping a charity, had the diamonds for a matter of hours and handed them over to a representative of Nelson Mandela's children's charity.

"She was not on trial in The Hague and was as helpful toward the court as she could be," the statement said.

Campbell was summoned by prosecutors to support their allegations that Taylor received blood diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone and used them to buy weapons. He denies 11 counts, including rape, sexual slavery and the conscription of child soldiers during wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The statement, issued via a London-based PR agency, said Campbell had a long commitment to supporting good causes, especially in Africa.

"The suggestion that Campbell in some way doesn't care about the plight of those suffering in Africa is ridiculous and hurtful," it said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Tim Pearce)

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