Naomi Campbell "flirted" with former Liberian president Charles Taylor after he offered her some diamonds as a gift, according to the supermodel's former aide. Carole White was working for the British beauty when they attended a dinner party in South Africa in 1997, hosted by Nelson Mandela.
Campbell has told a war crimes trial in The Hague, Netherlands that she had no idea a bag of rough diamonds, delivered to her room hours after the event, were a gift from the Liberian leader. But White told the court on Monday, August 9 that the model was well aware Taylor had sent the gems - because she had overheard them discussing the gift during a "flirty" conversation over dinner.
White said, "As we were eating, Naomi leaned back and Charles Taylor leaned forward, and Naomi was very excited and told me he was going to give her some diamonds. She leaned back in her chair to talk to him, and he was leaning forward. They were laughing and nodding and he was agreeing that there was something - a gift, a diamond. He was smiling and nodding in agreement.
"They were being charming to each other. Mildly flirting. They were at a dinner party and they were just being affable. It's just the way it was done. Naomi, I think, was flirting with him and he was flirting back."
White told the hearing that she was informed the diamonds were being brought to the venue by Taylor's aides, and she and Campbell waited up for hours but retired to bed when the men didn't arrive. She claimed she later heard pebbles being thrown against the window of her room, and she saw two men in a garden at the property shouting up at her: "We have something for Miss Campbell."
White said she and the supermodel let the men in to a downstairs lounge, where Campbell was given the diamonds - but she was unimpressed with the gems because "they weren't very big". The aide alleged she warned Campbell the following day that it was illegal to take diamonds out of South Africa and persuaded her to hand them to charity instead.
Taylor is accused of using blood diamonds to finance Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. He has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges.