Wednesday 12/8/21
IN FRANCE

Benzema gets one-year suspended sentence in sex tape trial

Benzema was knowingly part of the extortion attempt, the prosecution said
FILED - 23 June 2021, Hungary, Budapest: France's Karim Benzema in action during the UEFA European Football Championship soccer match between Portugal and France at Puskas Arena. Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema was on Wednesday handed a suspended one-year prison sentence over complicity to attempted blackmail in connection with a sex tape. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa.
Benzema was handed a suspended one-year sentence over complicity to attempted blackmail in connection with a sex tape. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa.

 Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema was on Wednesday handed a suspended one-year prison sentence over complicity to attempted blackmail in connection with a sex tape.

The Versailles court also fined the player 75,000 euros (84,000 dollars).

The case dates back to June 2015. France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena was allegedly told in a phone call that an intimate video involving him would be published unless he paid a sum of money.

At the heart of the allegations against Benzema, who did not appear in court in person, is a private conversation between him and Valbuena about the sex tape a few days after the call.

Benzema was alleged to have tried to persuade his team-mate to talk to a middle man. Money was not discussed but this was implicit, Valbuena has said.

Benzema was knowingly part of the extortion attempt, the prosecution said. His defence denied the allegations and said Wednesday they would appeal the verdict.

The affair had major consequences for the duo. Benzema did not play for France again until the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, and Valbuena never again.

Four other men on trial in the case received sentences between suspended 18 months and two and a half years behind bars.

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