Real Madrid’s Benzema gets suspended jail term in sex tape trial

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VERSAILLES, France, Nov 24 (Reuters) – France and Real Madrid ahead Karim Benzema was discovered responsible of complicity in the tried blackmail of a former worldwide crew mate over a sex tape on Wednesday and sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term.

The Versailles court docket additionally fined him 75,000 euros ($84,170) and ordered him to pay former crew mate Mathieu Valbuena 80,000 euros to cowl authorized prices and 150,000 euros in damages collectively along with his three different co-accused.

Benzema’s lawyer stated he would enchantment in opposition to the decision.

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Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, was not in court docket. He is because of play for Real Madrid in opposition to Moldovan facet Sheriff Tiraspol later in the day.

“This outcome in no way corresponds with the reality of events,” lawyer Antoine Vey informed reporters afterwards.

Real Madrid declined to remark.

Earlier this month, the president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, stated Benzema wouldn’t be excluded from the nationwide crew had been he to be convicted and given the suspended sentence prosecutors needed.

“The coach will always be responsible for his selection and Benzema will not be left out because of an eventual judicial sanction,” Le Graet informed Le Parisien.

Prosecutors had argued that Benzema had inspired Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers in order to maintain the sexually specific tape out of the general public eye.

They stated Valbuena obtained the primary of a number of cellphone calls threatening to show the tape in June 2015. Valbuena informed the court docket it was clear the caller needed cash and that the blackmail try left him fearing for his profession and place in the nationwide squad.

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

Benzema had proven no goodwill to Valbuena and pretended to be have his finest pursuits at coronary heart, the judges stated in their written ruling. Benzema had “deliberately helped the authors of the attempted blackmail of Valbuena”, they added.

Benzema and Valbuena each misplaced their locations in the nationwide crew in the wake of the scandal, dubbed the “sex tape affair”.

Benzema, 33, who has performed greater than 90 instances for his nation, was recalled to the France squad for this 12 months’s European Championship.

Among Benzema’s co-defendants had been childhood buddy Karim Zenati, who acted as an middleman, and Mustapha Zouaoui, one of many suspected architects of the rip-off. All 4 defendants had been discovered responsible in reference to the tried blackmail.

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Reporting by Layli Foroudi in Versailles; extra reporting by Fernando Kallas in Madrid; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Nick Macfie

French soccer player Mathieu Valbuena and his lawyer Didier Domat answer questions to journalists during a break in the trial of Real Madrid soccer team player Karim Benzema and other defendants, on charges of involvement in an alleged attempt to blackmail Valbuena over a sex tape almost five years ago, at the Versailles courthouse, near Paris, France, October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group D - France v Kazakhstan - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - November 13, 2021. France's Karim Benzema during the warm up before the match. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

French soccer player Mathieu Valbuena and his lawyer Didier Domat answer questions to journalists during a break in the trial of Real Madrid soccer team player Karim Benzema and other defendants, on charges of involvement in an alleged attempt to blackmail Valbuena over a sex tape almost five years ago, at the Versailles courthouse, near Paris, France, October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

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