French and Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term and a €75,000 fine for his involvement in a sex tape blackmailing scandal.
Benzima was found guilty for his complicity in the attempted blackmailing of former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena by a court in Versailles.
The Real Madrid superstar and four others in 2015 were put on trial over the attempt to blackmail Valbuena with a sexually explicit video from his mobile phone, for which Benzema himself wasn not accused of being behind the extortion attempt but instead, for conspiring with the suspected blackmailers by putting pressure on Valbuena to part with money demanded.
Benzema, it was alleged, told Valbuena to ‘manage’ the issue of the video during an exchange at the French team’s training centre in 2015. Valbuena claimed that while no money was exchanged, Benzema’s tone was “very insistent”.
The court rules that Benzema did not realise the criminal nature of his acts but a phone call to a childhood friend to say “he’s not taking us seriously” was seen as proof of his implication in the plot.
“Benzema is not a good Samaritan who just wanted to help out,” prosecutor Segolene Mares accused.
The Madrid striker’s agent has confirmed he will appeal the decision: “We are quite flabbergasted by this judgment. An appeal is necessary. He will be exonerated at the height of this appeal.”
Chairman of the French Football Federation Noel La Graet has confirmed that he remains available for selection regardless of appeal, having already spent time away from the national team.
“I don’t know what Karim and his lawyers will decide, namely whether they appeal, but as far as the Federation is concerned, there is no change,” he told RMC.
“He remains selectable, while regretting this unfortunate record. He did not play for several years with the France team. This sanction does not change anything for me. He is selectable.
Story source: Mirror UK
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