On Tuesday, the Versailles prosecutor’s office revealed that Real Madrid star Karim Benzema will face trial in October for his alleged involvement in blackmailing former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. Benzema is suspected of pressuring Valbuena in 2015 to pay blackmailers who threatened to reveal an intimate video in which Valbuena featured. The 33-year-old striker now faces up to five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 if found guilty in the case.
Earlier in January, the Versailles prosecutor’s office informed Benzema that he will be taken to court over suspected involvement in Valbuena's sex tape scandal. However, on Tuesday, it was revealed that Benzema will stand trial from October 20-22 on the charge of complicity in attempted blackmail. The Real Madrid forward has denied any wrongdoing.
Karim Benzema will be on trial for being complicit in the blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena from 20th to 22nd October later this year - AFP.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) March 30, 2021
Reports claim that if Benzema is found guilty in the case, he could face up to five years in jail. He will also have to pay a fine of €75,000. The start of the trial on October 20 coincides with one of the dates UEFA has provisionally set for the third round of matches in next season's Champions League group stage.
Prior to France's international friendly against Armenia in October 2015, Benzema was suspected of having pressured Valbuena to pay blackmailers who threatened to reveal an intimate video in which the former Marseille star featured. The investigators who charged Benzema believe he was approached by a childhood friend to act as an intermediary and convince Valbuena to deal directly with the blackmailers. However, Valbuena informed the police about the threats.
The following month, Benzema and Valbuena were banned from playing for France and the duo came under heavy criticism from then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Reports suggest that four other people will also stand trial in the case. Benzema's lawyer has also claimed that his client had nothing to be ashamed of over the case. "The decision to try him (Benzema) is absurd and is unfair cruelty but there is nothing to be ashamed of in his case because he has don't nothing wrong", he said.
Benzema was tipped as a generational talent in France. He scored 27 international goals in 81 appearances for Les Blues but hasn't made an international appearance since November 2015.