French justice condemned the Real Madrid star on Wednesday Karim Benzema to one year in prison, with suspension of sentence, for the attempt to blackmail his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena with an intimate video.
The Versailles court set a prison sentence of more than 10 months requested by the prosecution during the trial in October, but imposes the same fine requested by the public prosecutor: 75,000 euros ($ 87,000).
After the reading of the verdict, the 33-year-old forward’s lawyers, who was not present throughout the trial for “complicity” in this case due to professional commitments, announced an appeal against the sentence, which suspends its application.
Although the outbreak of the “sextape” scandal kept him away for five years from the french team Until his return on the eve of the Eurocup held in 2021, the sentence seems that it will not take a sports bill.
Two weeks ago, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, already told the newspaper Le Parisien that the candidate for the Ballon d’Or next Monday for his performance with the ‘Bleus’ “will not be excluded” in in case he is convicted.
And, regarding Real Madrid, it seems unlikely that the Spanish team, which plays a Champions League match against Sherrif Tiraspol in Moldova this Wednesday, sanctions one of its best players, whom it has always supported in this case.
(What’s more: Prosecutor asks for harsh punishment for Karim Benzema)
Up to 2 and a half years in jail
Against the other four defendants for the blackmail of the current Greek Olympiakos player, the Versailles court imposed penalties ranging from 18 months of conditional prison to 2 and a half years of mandatory prison sentence
The events date back to October 6, 2015. During a national team rally, Benzema goes to Valbuena’s room to warn him about the video and assure him that he can introduce him to “someone you trust” to “manage” the situation.
During the trial, the 37-year-old midfielder, who was never called up to the national team again after the scandal, acknowledged that he feared for his career, “if the video came to light.” “I felt in danger, my first instinct was to report,” he added.
The person recommended by Benzema, who claims to have given a “friend’s advice”, is his friend Karim Zenati, with whom the alleged blackmailers had contacted to pressure Valbuena, having failed in previous attempts.
During their arguments, the representatives of the prosecution emphasized instead that the star of the French team had the duty to set an example, as “bearer of an image, a hope, a notoriety and moral values.”