France's Benzema Gets Suspended Term over Sex Tape Scandal
A French court will rule whether Real Madrid star Karim Benzema colluded to blackmail his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape.
A French court charged Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, on Wednesday, with a suspended sentence for complicity in a bid to blackmail his former France team-mate, Mathieu Valbuena, with a sex tape.
The sentence, which included a fine of 75,000 euros ($84,000), was harsher than the one requested by prosecutors in the 2015 extortion attempt that resulted in Benzema's five and a half year suspension from the France team.
Benzema was not in court in the Paris suburb of Versailles for the verdict, which was hours before Real Madrid took on Sheriff Tiraspol in a Champions League game in Moldova.
He was accused of conspiring with the suspected blackmailers by putting pressure on Valbuena to pay them off.
The court ruled that he had "implicated himself personally, through subterfuge and lies, to convince his team-mate to submit to the blackmail."
It added that he had shown "no kindness towards Valbuena", as he had claimed, "just the opposite" and had even appeared to take pleasure in his fellow player's demise.
His defense team immediately announced plans for an appeal.
At the courthouse, one of his lawyers, Sylvain Cormier, said he was "stunned" by the sentence which he called "very severe, unfair and unfounded."
A second lawyer, Antoine Vey, stated that Benzema, who did not attend his trial, would "come and explain himself" when the case went to an appeal.
The prosecution called to give Benzema a 10-month suspended sentence.
Benzema - not a good Samaritan
Benzema was one of five who tried to blackmail Valbuena with a sexually explicit video stolen from his phone.
He claims he was trying to help Valbuena when he talked to the French team's training center in October 2015 and told him he could help him "manage" the issue of the video.
However, the prosecutors reported his remarks in a phone conversation to a childhood friend also convicted over the extortion attempt - Benzema told his alleged accomplice "he's not taking us seriously" - proving his part in the plot.