EM – Real Madrid’s Benzema faces suspended sentence in the sextape trial

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FILE PHOTO: Soccer – World Cup – UEFA Qualifying – Group D – France v Kazakhstan – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – November 13, 2021. France’s Karim Benzema warming up before the game. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

VERSAILLES: France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was on Wednesday (24th.

The Versailles Court also fined him 75,000 euros ($ 84,170) and sentenced him along with his three other co-defendants to pay 80,000 euros for legal fees and 150,000 euros in damages.

Benzema, who denied any wrongdoing, was out of court and will play for Real Madrid against Moldovan sheriff Tiraspol later that day.

“This result in no way corresponds to the reality of the events,” lawyer Antoine Vey told reporters afterwards.

Earlier this month, the President of the French Football Association, Noel Le Graet, said that Benzema would not be excluded from the national team would if convicted and prosecuted on suspended sentence.

“The coach will always be responsible for his selection, and Benze ma will not be excluded because of a possible judicial sanction, “Le Graet told Le Parisien.

Prosecutors had argued that Benzema had encouraged Valbuena to pay an alleged blackmailer group to keep the sexually explicit bond out of the public eye. </ They said Valbuena received the first of several phone calls in June 2015 threatening to reveal the tape. Valbuena told the court that it was clear that the caller wanted money and that the blackmail attempt made him fear for his career and his place on the national team.

Benzema was hired by the alleged blackmailers to get Valbuena to pay, when his teammate stalled, the prosecutor added.

Benzema had shown no benevolence towards Valbuena and pretended it was his best, the judges said in their written verdict. Benzema “deliberately helped the authors of Valbuena’s blackmail attempt,” they added.

Benzema and Valbuena both lost their places on the national team in the wake of the scandal known as the “sex tape affair”. </ 33-year-old Benzema, who has played for his country more than 90 times, was appointed to the French squad for this year's European Championship.

Benzema’s co-defendants included childhood friend Karim Zenati, who acted as an intermediary and Mustapha Zouaoui, one of the alleged architects of the fraud. All four defendants were found guilty of attempted extortion.

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