Karim Benzema found guilty in sex-tape blackmail case

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid warms up during the La Liga Santander match between Granada CF and Real Madrid CF at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes on November 21, 2021 in Granada, Spain.


France and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of a former international teammate over a sex tape on Wednesday and sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term.

He was also fined €75,000. Benzema's lawyer said the player would appeal against the verdict.

Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, was not in the court in Versailles. He is due to play for the Spanish club against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later today.

"This outcome in no way corresponds with the reality of events," lawyer Antoine Vey told reporters afterwards.

Real Madrid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors had argued that Benzema had encouraged Mathieu Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid warms up during the La Liga Santander match between Granada CF and Real Madrid CF at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes on November 21, 2021 in Granada, Spain. 


They said Valbuena received the first of several phone calls threatening to expose the tape in June 2015. Valbuena told the court it was clear the caller wanted money and that the blackmail attempt left him fearing for his career and place in the national squad.

Benzema was recruited by the alleged blackmailers to encourage Valbuena to pay as his teammate stalled, the prosecution had added.

Benzema and Valbuena both lost their places in the national team in the wake of the scandal, dubbed the "sex tape affair".

Benzema, 33, who has played more than 90 times for his country, was recalled to the France squad for this year's European Championship.

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