Benzema found guilty in sex tape scandal
also fined 75,000 euros by the Versailles Court for his role in the sex video
After being found guilty of being complicit in the attempted blackmail of his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, Karim Benzema was given a one-year suspended prison sentence.
The Real Madrid star was also fined 75,000 euros by the Versailles Court for his role in the sex video incident, which resulted in Benzema’s suspension from the French national team for several years.
Last month’s three-day trial was skipped by Benzema. With the 33-year-old in training with Real Madrid ahead of their El Clasico match against Barcelona, his lawyer claimed professional reasons.
Axel Angot, Mustapha Zouaoui, Youness Houass, and Karim Zenati were also found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to two and a half years.
Angot discovered a sexually explicit film on Valbuena’s phone after he was instructed to transfer its contents to a new device, according to authorities. Angot and a third defendant, Zouaoui, tried to extort money from Valbuena, who was playing for Lyon and France at the time.
They enlisted the help of another defendant, Houass, before turning to Zenati, Benzema’s childhood buddy, who authorities say recruited him as a “middleman.” Valbuena alerted the authorities, who launched a sting operation.
Benzema discussed the footage with Valbuena at a France training camp in October 2015. The French striker’s lawyer told the court that he had no intention of blackmailing Valbuena because he was reportedly trying to assist his former France teammate.
However, Benzema’s offer of assistance was regarded by police, prosecutors, and the court as abetting the blackmail plan.
The Prosecutor’s Office sought the shortest possible prison sentence for Benzema but issued the maximum possible fine, despite the fact that the Frenchman was the only individual not charged of blackmail in this case.
Benzema was called up to represent France at the European Championship last summer, and since then, he has scored nine goals in 11 appearances for the national side.
He is one of the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or award for best male player in 2021, which will be presented next week. Valbuena, who is now at Olympiakos in Greece, has not represented his country since the event.
Meanwhile, the current president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, stated three weeks ago that the court’s judgment will have no bearing on Benzema’s future with Les Blues.
Despite being found guilty, the Real Madrid striker will represent France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, having led his country to UEFA Nations League triumph in October.