Karim Benzema: Real Madrid star handed suspended prison sentence and fined in sex-tape blackmail case

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Karim Benzema has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence  (Getty Images)
Karim Benzema has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence (Getty Images)

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former France international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape, a court in Versailles ruled on Wednesday.

Benzema was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 (£63,000) fine, with his lawyer confirming that he intends to appeal the verdict.

The 33-year-old was accused of pressuring Valbuena to pay blackmailers who threatened to make the sexually explicit video public in 2015 - a claim he denies.

The prosecutors’ office had recommended a 10-month suspended jail term and a €75,000 fine. Benzema did not attend either the trial or the verdict, while his four co-defendants were also found guilty and handed sanctions ranging from 18-month suspended sentences to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Benzema and Valbuena - who now plays his club football in Greece with Olympiacos - both lost their places in the French squad as a result of the scandal, though the former returned to the international fold for the first time in six years for the delayed 2020 European Championship having missed out on France’s 2018 World Cup win in Russia under Didier Deschamps.

During that time, there were even suggestions that he could switch his international allegiance to Algeria, the country of his parents.

France Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet stated last month that Benzema - fifth on the list of Les Bleus’ all-time scorers with 36 goals in 94 senior caps - would not be excluded from the French team if he was found guilty.

Benzema will be expected to feature for Real Madrid when they face Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

He has played for the LaLiga giants since a £30million move from Lyon in the summer of 2009, scoring 293 goals in 575 appearances across all competitions.

Benzema is ninth on Madrid’s list of all-time appearance makers, while only Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul and Alfredo Di Stefano have scored more goals for Los Blancos.

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