Benzema gets 1-year suspended prison sentence for sex tape blackmail

French court also fines Real Madrid forward €75,000 for extortion attempt against Valbuena with sex tape in 2015

Can Erozden   | 24.11.2021
Benzema gets 1-year suspended prison sentence for sex tape blackmail


Real Madrid's French star Karim Benzema on Wednesday was given a one-year suspended prison sentence for an extortion attempt with a sex tape in 2015 against his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

The French sports daily L'Equipe said the Versailles Criminal Court found Benzema, 33, guilty of complicity in the criminal plot against Valbuena to hand the suspect a one-year suspended jail sentence and also fined Benzema €75,000 (over $84,000) for the same reason.

In addition to Benzema, the other four defendants -- Axel Angot, Mustapha Zouaoui, Younes Houass, and Karim Zenati -- have been found guilty by the French court.

The French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet previously said Benzema will not be excluded from the national team in case of a conviction about the sex tape scandal that hurt the careers of both Benzema and Valbuena.

Blackmailers have threatened Valbuena to release a sex tape that the player was involved in if they were not paid the ransom.

Former Olympique Marseille attacking midfielder Valbuena, 37, was blackmailed before France's friendly against Armenia in October 2015.

One of the suspects and Valbuena's teammate in the French national team in the 2010s, Benzema allegedly told him to pay the blackmailers.

A case was opened against Benzema and his co-defendants on Nov. 5, 2015, while the French national team head coach Didier Deschamps omitted Benzema from the squad for the UEFA EURO 2016 finals in France because of the blackmail incident.

Then Benzema accused Deschamps of "bowing to the pressure of a racist part of France" as the Real Madrid forward is of Algerian origin to be a Muslim.

After a nearly six-year break, Benzema has returned to France's national team for the UEFA EURO 2020 as Deschamps confirmed the squad for the pan-European tournament in 2021 summer.

Benzema made his France debut in 2007 to score 36 goals in 94 international caps.

Meanwhile, Olympiacos' Valbuena was a France midfielder in 2010-2015.

But after a friendly against Denmark in October 2015, Valbuena was not called for national duty as this was his final appearance for Les Bleus.

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