Benzema to stand trial over 2015 sex tape

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Benzema to stand trial over 2015 sex tape

French prosecutors have asked that Karim Benzema face trial over his alleged involvement in the attempted sex-tape blackmail of former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

The Real Madrid striker was alleged to have been involved in an attempt by blackmailers to extort money from a fellow France international ahead of a friendly against Armenia five years ago.

The case dates back to 2015 when Valbuena claimed to have been the victim of an extortion attempt over a video of a sexual nature in which he appeared.

Blackmailers were threatening to make the tape public — and it’s alleged that Benzema acted as an intermediary between the group, some of whom were known to him, and his France colleague.

Benzema’s France career was effectively ended in the aftermath of the affair, with coach Didier Deschamps refusing to pick the striker for the Euro 2016 tournament, played on home soil, or the victorious 2018 World Cup campaign.

Benzema has consistently denied any involvement with the alleged blackmail plot and has always insisted that he only broached the subject with Valbuena to warn him that such a tape existed.

Valbuena has previously alleged that Benzema urged him to pay up in order to avoid any footage surfacing in the public sphere, and condemned his compatriot’s actions during an in-depth interview in November 2015.

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Valbuena, the former Marseille and Lyon player who now plies his trade in Greece with Olympiacos, told Le Monde: “I was more than disappointed. I told myself that it was quite simply a lack of respect. You can’t behave like that with anyone.”

Benzema has not played for his country since, with France head coach Didier Deschamps publicly expressing his belief that the forward “crossed the line”, and the Versailles prosecutor has now requested a trial against the 32-year-old, along with four other suspects.

“Some people can give speeches that can have consequences that go beyond any form of understanding, and I can never forget that,” Deschamps told Europe 1 in January 2019. “At that moment I considered that a line had been crossed.

“I pick French players, all of them are French and it has never occurred to me to not select someone based on their colour or religion. And in the same way the other way around, I would never pick someone based on the same criteria, because that would be just as bad or worse.”

Benzema has been enjoying one of his strongest seasons yet in a Madrid shirt.

The Frenchman has hit 22 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who are currently sitting top of La Liga, four points ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona.

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