More than five years after the scandal that had multiple repercussions was unleashed, Karim Benzema to stand trial in France with the weight of being suspected of having incited his teammate Mathieu Valbuena to pay blackmailers who threatened him with the viralization of a sex video.
The news was released by the agency AFP in the last hours after receiving the information from sources in the Versailles criminal court prosecutor’s office. Together with the Real Madrid striker, four other men will stand trial for this blackmail attempt and one of them also for breach of trust.
The 33-year-old soccer player was involved in this case in October 2015 and weeks later he was arrested by the French police in the framework of the investigation that they had initiated after Valbuena’s complaint, who said at that time that he had received an anonymous call in which they demanded 150,000 euros as a condition for not spreading a video of a sexual nature that had him as the protagonist. By then, Benzema was released after spending the night at the police station of Versailles: he testified and was released under judicial control. He was prosecuted for “Complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a criminal association”.
In July of last year the Prosecutor’s Office had completed the process of gathering evidence and investigation that had begun at the end of 2015: they raised the request for a trial for Benzema, which was only confirmed in the last hours. Initially in the case, known worldwide as Sextape, had also been included another soccer player of the selection, the forward Djibril cisse, although he was released from charges as has been learned in the past.
This fact keeps France in suspense and also presented a series of complexities for the judicial authorities. In December 2019, the Court of Cassation had rejected the request of Benzema’s lawyers to invalidate part of the investigation. The investigating judge Anne Duval, the third magistrate in five years to work in this procedure, had been at the forefront of the issue and in early 2020 gave notice to the parties that there was a deadline to submit the latest applications.
As reported by the newspaper at the time The world, there is a childhood friend of Cat that is indicated by “Attempted blackmail in recidivism”. Police recorded a total of six telephone conversations between June and October 2015, where they identified the aforementioned friend of Benzema, Karim Zenati. In some of those recordings, which were leaked to the media, the footballer was heard intervening with those in charge of promoting the blackmail of Valbuena.
The complications for what happened in October 2015 were not only judicial for Benzema. The last official participation with the national team was on October 8, 2015 at 4-0 against Armenia, where he scored two goals. After knowing this scandal, the French Football Federation decided to suspend it temporarily in December of that year: did not return to be part of the structure of the national team. In the last time, the president Noël Le Graët warned that the relationship between Benzema and the national team was “over”.
For his part, Valbuena is currently 36 years old and for two seasons he has been part of Olympiakos of Greece after having worn the Turkish Fenerbahçe shirt between 2017 and 2019. That 2015, the year in which he was part of Olympique de Lyon, also marked his departure forever from Blues. “I was severely punished for something I was a victim of”, declared in November 2019 in an interview with the media of his country RCM Sport.
“Didier (Deschamps) called me to tell me that he would not take me to protect myself. I was doubly punished for something while I was a victim. It was painful not being in the national team unfairly. Today is a shame and it continues to sadden me. Didier spoke to me and told me that the national team was following me. I was hoping to come back … but I soon realized that he was dead. I had to digest that. It took me a long time. I do not hide that if France had won that Euro Cup, I would not have been happy”, He assured.
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