Sunday, November 28, 2021

Benzema bags jail term in sex tape trial

He was found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of a former international teammate over a sex tape.

• November 24, 2021
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema [Photo credit:Skysport]

France and Real Madrid FC forward, Karim Benzema, was on Wednesday sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term.

He was found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of a former international teammate over a sex tape.

The Versailles court also fined him €75,000 ($84,170) and ordered him to pay former teammate, Mathieu Valbuena €80,000 to cover legal costs and €150,000 in damages together with his three other co-accused.

Benzema’s lawyer said he would appeal against the verdict.

Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, was not in court. He is due to play for Real Madrid against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later in the day.

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

Real Madrid declined to comment.

Earlier this month, President of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, said Benzema would not be excluded from the national team if he was convicted and given the suspended sentence prosecutors wanted.

“The coach will always be responsible for his selection and Benzema will not be left out because of an eventual judicial sanction,” Le Graet told Le Parisien.

Prosecutors had argued that Benzema had encouraged Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.

They said Valbuena received the first of several phone calls threatening to expose the tape in June 2015.

Valbuena told the court it was clear the caller wanted money and that the blackmail attempt left him fearing for his career and place in the national squad.

Benzema was recruited by the alleged blackmailers to encourage Valbuena to pay as his teammate stalled, the prosecution had added.

Benzema had shown no goodwill to Valbuena and pretended to have his best interests at heart, the judges said in their written ruling.

Benzema had “deliberately helped the authors of the attempted blackmail of Valbuena,” they added.

Benzema and Valbuena both lost their places in the national team in the wake of the scandal, dubbed the “sex tape affair.”

Benzema, 33, who has played more than 90 times for his country, was recalled to the France squad for this year’s European Championship.

Among Benzema’s co-defendants were childhood friend Karim Zenati, who acted as an intermediary, and Mustapha Zouaoui, one of the suspected architects of the scam.

All four defendants were found guilty in connection with the attempted blackmail. 

More from Peoples Gazette

Bandits

States

Police kill notorious bandit terrorising Kaduna-Abuja highway users

The police said the owner of the guest house where the bandits were lodged, was equally arrested for questioning.

States

Banditry: Gov. Matawalle lifts ban on telecom services in Zamfara

Mr Matawalle said banditry and kidnapping had been substantially suppressed within the period of the telecom shutdown.

Africa

Commonwealth election observers arrive Gambia ahead of December 4 presidential poll

The December 4 presidential election will be the first in The Gambia without ex-president Yahya Jammeh running for office.

Uncategorized

Gbajabiamila inaugurates first ‘Burger King’ outlet in Nigeria

The speaker said the federal government would assist Burger King by making the business climate easier for the fast food chain.

Economy

21 ships discharge petroleum products, other items at Lagos ports

Other items that the ships contain includes general cargo, bulk sugar, base oil, bulk wheat, bulk urea, petrol, frozen fish, and ethanol.

Coleman Cables

Economy

Coleman Cables signs N50 billion bond with SEC

The company says it has acquired the technology and capabilities to manufacture various cables that were previously imported.