Real Madrid superstar striker Karim Benzema has been convicted over the involvement in the attempted blackmail of former teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. He has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence. Reports state that Benzema’s lawyer has told on Wednesday that the player will appeal the verdict. The judgment from a court in Versailles had found Karim Benzema guilty of “complicity” in the affair and it puts an end to a legal battle that started back in 2015. This led to Karim Benzema being banished from the France national team for almost six years.
Karim Benzema has been fined €75,000 alongside the suspended prison
The Prosecutor’s Office requested the lowest jail sentence against Benzema but imposed him the highest possible fine, with the Frenchman being the only person who was not accused of blackmail in this case.
It has been also noted that Frenchman did not attend the three-day trial last month. His lawyer cited professional reasons, with the 33-year-old in training with Real Madrid ahead of their ‘El Clasico’ clash with Barcelona.
The case involved a sexually explicit video, which prosecutors said another defendant, Axel Angot, discovered on Valbuena’s mobile phone after he had been asked to transfer its contents to a new device. Angot and a third defendant, Mustapha Zouaoui, tried to use the video to extort money from Valbuena, who was then playing for Lyon and France.
While another defendant, Youness Houass, before eventually turning to Karim Zenati, a childhood friend of Benzema, who prosecutors said recruited the forward as a “middleman.” Valbuena contacted the police, who began a sting operation.
Benzema had spoken to Valbuena about the video at a France training camp in October 2015 but denied any wrongdoing. He claimed helping resolve the situation and warning his teammate to “be careful,” describing the blackmailers as “serious criminals.”
Noel Le Graet, the current president of the French Football Federation announced three weeks ago that the court’s decision would not affect Karim Benzema’s career with Les Blues.
It implies that despite being found guilty, the Real Madrid striker will participate at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with France after leading them to UEFA Nations League glory back in October. Benzema was called up to take part in last summer’s European Championship, and he has scored nine goals 11 official games since his return to the national team.
- Karim Benzema convicted for involvement in the attempted blackmail of former teammate Mathieu Valbuena
- Benzema has been handed one-year suspended prison sentence with a €75,000 fine