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French Soccer Player Karim Benzema Charged In Sextape Blackmail Case
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was questioned by police in Versailles on Wednesday in connection with the attempted blackmail of fellow French national team player Mathieu Valbuena.
At first it didn’t seem like anything would come of this. Police had also questioned France’s Djibril Cissé last month. However, Cissé was not charged, and Valbuena took to social media to apologize and say he never suspected that Cissé was involved.
When Benzema reported to the police station, his lawyer said he had done nothing wrong, that he was only being questioned, and that he was happy to do it if it helped the police. So most observers expected a result similar to that of Cissé.
That’s not what happened, though. Benzema never left the police station on Wednesday, and on Thursday police announced that he had been charged with “complicity in an attempted extortion,” which carried a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
It’s a shocking turn of events in what has already been a pretty shocking blackmail case. Sometime last spring or summer, somebody contacted Valbuena claiming to be in possession of a video of him and either his wife or another woman (the details aren’t fully known) having sex. That person then threatened to release the video online unless Valbuena handed over somewhere between €50,000 to €100,000. But Valbuena refused, and instead contacted the police, who started an investigation.
Police started looking at Benzema after he reportedly talked to Valbuena about the tape last month, when the French national team assembled for matches against Armenia and Denmark.
Now, according to a source who spoke to Agence France-Presse, Benzema has admitted to police that he did indeed talk to Valbuena about the sextape on behalf of a childhood friend. Benzema said that he and his friend agreed exactly what he would say to Valbuena, in the hopes of convincing Valbuena to negotiate exclusively with the friend. However, Benzema insisted that he either did not believe or did not realize that he was doing anything wrong.
One wonders if he realizes now.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]