Benzema sentenced to one-year jail term over sex-tape blackmail
REAL Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape and sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term by a court in Versailles.
He was also fined 75,000 euros (£63,000). Benzema’s lawyer said the player would appeal against the verdict.
Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, was not in court. He is due to play for the Spanish club against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later on Wednesday in the Champions League.
“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 Benzema had encouraged Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.
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 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 team-mate 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.