Karim Benzema charged with conspiracy to blackmail


Karim Benzema is being formally investigated in relation to a sex tape blackmail scandal involving fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena.

Karim Benzema, a perennial bad boy of French football, has been placed under investigation to determine his involvement in an attempt blackmail Mathieu Valbuena over an alleged sex tape. The Real Madrid striker had been placed in custody overnight after arriving at a police station near Paris on Wednesday. He underwent questioning throughout Wednesday before attending a hearing Thursday.

According to AFP, the star striker admitted to involvement. The report said that Benzema approached Valbuena on behalf of “a childhood friend” during a national team training session in October. What is unclear, however, is Benzema’s intentions. Now Benzema has been placed under investigation, the case will be examined by a judge, who will conclude whether there is sufficient evidence to charge him.

If deemed guilty, Benzema, 27, is looking at a minimum of 5 years in prison according to the Versailles prosecutor. Benzema has now been freed while under investigation, but his lawyer, Sylvain Cormier spoke to reporters after the hearing, protesting Benzema’s innonence. Cormier said: “He played no part, I repeat, no part in any blackmail or attempted blackmail.”

It will be up to the judge to determine Benzema’s innocence, but whether he is cleared or not, relations will most certainly have been damaged with the French national side. Valbuena will not be selected in the France squad to face Germany and England in upcoming friendlies, and Didier Deschamps, the French national team manager, at a media conference has said in light of this decision: “I understand that he is not in the best condition psychologically with this case.” Benzema will also not be a part of the French squad though Deschamps claimed this was because “he has not recovered from his injury”.

Karim Benzema has had previous issues with the French police after he and Franck Ribery were cleared of accusations that they had slept with an underage prostitute. Although he was deemed innocent previously, Benzema is looking at a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty of blackmail.