Diamond charge charity boss Jeremy Ractliffe cleared

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The Independent Online

A former South African charity boss has been cleared of illegally possessing diamonds allegedly given to him by supermodel Naomi Campbell

Jeremy Ractliffe, former chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, had been charged with violating laws against possessing uncut diamonds.

It is illegal in South Africa to possess a rough diamond because of possible links to diamonds sold to fund fighters in African civil wars.

Magistrate Renier Boshoff issued the verdict in Johannesburg.

Mr Ractliffe was chief executive in 1997 of the Mandela charity and Ms Campbell said passed on to him uncut diamonds given to her after a fund raising event also attended by Liberian President Charles Taylor, believed to be their source.

Taylor is being tried in The Hague for trading in illegal diamonds.