French footballer Karim Benzema involved in blackmail.
A Versailles court sentenced Real Madrid star striker Karim Benzema to one year probation in his absence on Wednesday. In addition, the 33-year-old has to pay a fine of 75,000 euros. His lawyer immediately announced that he would appeal.
The court considered it proven that Benzema had helped blackmail his fellow player Mathieu Valbuena in 2014. For this purpose, five acquaintances used a sex tape that is supposed to show Valbuena in a precarious situation. After he received phone calls about the video, Benzema also took his friend – who loved him – aside. He advised him to meet the caller, never talking about money. In addition to Benzema, the court sentenced four defendants to prison terms ranging from eighteen months on probation to two and a half years. The prosecutor had asked for ten months probation plus a fine for Benzema.
Benzema tried to portray himself as a victim of a partisan judiciary. In an interview he claimed to be persecuted by “the racist part of France”. Therefore, he was already involved in the affair of the prostitute Zahia and dragged through the mud for months – before an acquittal was made.
The “sextape affair”, meanwhile, had an impact on Benzema’s sporting career. France coach Didier Deschamps initially decided not to include the Real star and Valbuena in the selection. For a few months now, Benzema has been playing for the French national team again.
The verdict is unlikely to change that much. To a corresponding question, Deschamps replied evasively that his personnel decisions were purely “sporting”. The chairman of the French Football Association, Noël Le Graët, said in the newspaper “Le Parisien” that Benzema would “not be excluded” even after a conviction. Real, on the other hand, does not seem keen on sanctions, especially since ex-coach Zinedine Zidane had stood behind Benzema.