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BENZEMA

Karim Benzema held over sextape blackmail

UPDATED: French football player Karim Benzema has been arrested over an alleged plot to blackmail fellow footballer Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape, legal sources have said.

Karim Benzema held over sextape blackmail
Photo: AFP

The Real Madrid and France star arrived at the police station in Versailles, near Paris, early on Wednesday and was placed in detention, the local prosecutor confirmed, without giving further information.

Investigators are trying determine the extent to which Benzema was aware of the intimate video featuring Valbuena, which found its way into the hands of blackmailers.

According to the source, Benzema mentioned the sextape to Valbuena during a meeting of the French team in early October.

It is thought one of Benzema's relatives was contacted by the suspected blackmailers with a view to involving the footballer in their scheme, the source said.

Police are seeking to determine whether he was teasing Valbuena when he mentioned the tape, or trying to make him pay the blackmailers.

The blackmail case was first opened in late July, and carries a potential prison sentence of five years.

The three suspected blackmailers, who are friends with several footballers, were charged and placed in detention in October.

The case also saw four other people arrested last month, including former French international footballer Djibril Cissé.

Cissé took to live television the day after his arrest to insist that he was innocent.
 
The existence of any x-rated video involving Lyon player Valbuena (below) and his partner, however, has not actually been confirmed.
 
 
 
The incident is not the first time French striker Benzema has been embroiled in a police investigation.
   
In 2009, he and teammate Franck Ribery were accused of sleeping with an underage prostitute, Zahia Dehar.
   
Both men were finally cleared of wrongdoing five years later, by which time Dehar had become a reality TV star and fashion designer.

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BENZEMA

French court rejects Benzema request to drop sextape case

A French court on Friday rejected a request from Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema to drop the investigation into alleged blackmail over a sextape featuring international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, a lawyer said.

French court rejects Benzema request to drop sextape case
Photo: AFP
“We are pretty astonished because the decision is to reject our requests for the investigation to be cancelled,” said Serge Money, who represents another suspect in the case, which cost Benzema a place in France's Euro 2016 squad on home soil this year.
 
The case, which cost Benzema a place in France's Euro 2016 squad on home soil, is now expected to go to trial next year.
   
The Versailles appeal court also asked the investigating magistrate to consider charging former Liverpool and Marseille striker Djibril Cisse.
   
Investigators suspect 28-year-old Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers — including one of his childhood friends — and Lyon midfielder Valbuena.
   
Benzema and three of the other suspects asked for the case against them to be dropped.
   
They say police used “dishonest” methods by posing as a friend of Valbuena's in a telephone conversation with one of the accused.
   
The prosecution meanwhile says Cisse helped to push along the deception by informing Valbuena that “rumours” were circulating about the existence of the sextape.
   
The 35-year-old was arrested as part of the investigation in 2015 but was released without charge.
   
Cisse said in a TV interview at the time that he had only been arrested “so the investigators could hear my side of the story. I never swindled anyone — Mathieu is a friend”.
   
Benzema has been usurped as France's star striker by Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, but national coach Didier Deschamps says he has not ruled out a return to the international fold for the Real forward.
 
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