Former Nelson Mandela charity trustee faces 'blood diamonds' charges

London, Oct 3 (ANI): South African authorities have revealed that Jeremy Ractliffe, former Nelson Mandela charity trustee, is facing criminal charges after British supermodel Naomi Campbell testified that she gave him "blood diamonds" in 1997.

Ractliffe, who was head of Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund (NMCF) charity at the time, owned up to having the gems after Campbell mentioned them in testimony at the Hague war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor in August yesterday.

"I can confirm that Jeremy Ractliffe is facing charges related to the possession of uncut diamonds," the Scotsman quoted Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, as saying.

Ractliffe, who has since quit as the head of the NMCF after admitting to keeping the diamonds, appeared in a Johannesburg court on Tuesday, where his case was postponed until 27 October.

Prosecutors in The Hague summoned Campbell to back their allegations that Taylor received diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone, which they say he then used to buy weapons during a 1997 trip to South Africa.

"Blood diamonds" are diamonds mined in conflict zones and sold to fund warring parties.

Testifying at the Hague war crimes tribunal of Taylor, Campbell said she had received some "dirty looking pebbles" after a charity dinner.

But she said she did not know if they were blood diamonds or whether the unidentified donor had been Taylor. (ANI)

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