VERSAILLES – France and Real Madrid ahead Karim Benzema was given a one-year suspended jail sentence and a nice of 75,000 euros ($84,000) Wednesday in a sex-tape case that rocked French soccer and put the gifted striker’s worldwide profession on maintain for greater than 5 years.
Benzema was discovered responsible of being concerned in an try in 2015 to blackmail France teammate Mathieu Valbuena. In addition to the nice, Benzema was ordered to pay Valbuena 80,000 euros ($89,700) in damages.
Benzema’s legal professionals stated he’ll attraction.
Benzema was charged with complicity in the blackmail try over a intercourse tape thought to have been stolen from Valbuena’s cell phone.
The Versailles court docket determination is unlikely to have an effect on Benzema’s instant sporting future. The ahead is thought to be one of many favorites to win the Ballon d’Or award on Nov. 29 in Paris following a powerful season with Madrid. French federation president Noel Le Great has already stated Benzema can be allowed to maintain enjoying with France even when discovered responsible.
Benzema was in Madrid’s squad for its Champions League group-stage sport at Moldova champion Sheriff later Wednesday.
Benzema, who denied wrongdoing, didn’t attend the trial in Versailles final month and was absent for the decision. The 4 different defendants have been additionally discovered responsible on prices of tried blackmail and didn’t seem on the court docket Wednesday.
“Benzema will come to clarify himself earlier than the court docket of attraction,” stated Antoine Vey, one of many participant’s legal professionals. “He was absent from the trial for skilled causes, the truth that he was absent had an affect in the judgment. This conviction is unfounded.”
Prosecutors had requested that Benzema be fined 75,000 euros, the utmost allowed on the cost, and be given a suspended 10-month jail time period if discovered responsible.
The court docket gave a jail sentence of two years and 6 months to Mustapha Zouaoui, saying he masterminded the plot. Axel Angot, who first received maintain of the intercourse tape in 2014, was handed two years in jail. Another of the convicted blackmailers, Younes Houass, acquired an 18-month suspended jail sentence and Benzema’s longtime buddy, Karim Zenati, was jailed for 15 months.
Both Angot and Zenati’s sentences may nonetheless be adjusted.
After preliminary prices in November 2015, Benzema was dropped from France’s nationwide workforce by coach Didier Deschamps. That resulted in Benzema lacking the 2016 European Championship, and in addition the 2018 World Cup which was received by France.
Deschamps recalled Benzema in May forward of the delayed Euro 2020 match and has since fielded him usually.
During the trial, Valbuena testified that Benzema spoke to him in regards to the intercourse tape, telling him “there’s a video, it’s scorching,” once they have been collectively at France’s Clairefontaine coaching camp in October 2015. Benzema additionally stated that he had a very good buddy who may assist and “can clear up your drawback,” Valbuena testified.
Although Benzema “by no means spoke to me about cash,” Valbuena stated he understood that he must pay for the buddy’s help.
In a subsequent telephone name wiretapped by police, Benzema talked with Zenati in regards to the dialog Benzema had with Valbuena. Benzema and Zenati had recognized one another since childhood. When Zenati was launched from jail in 2013, following theft and drug convictions, Benzema employed him as an assistant.
In the wiretapped name, which was performed in court docket, the pair chuckled about Benzema’s speak with Valbuena. Benzema stated that he had instructed Valbuena that “if you’d like the video to be destroyed,” he ought to contact Zenati, with out involving police, legal professionals or others.
“I gave my phrase that there are not any copies,” Benzema stated in the decision.
Valbuena’s lawyer, Didier Domat, stated the ruling got here as a reduction for his consumer. Unlike his former teammate, Valbuena has not performed for France for the reason that scandal broke.
“He has suffered sports activities prejudices which might be troublesome to restore,” Domat stated. “We are glad that his standing as a sufferer has been acknowledged.”
AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin contributed to this story.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.