Karim Benzema held over sextape blackmail

Karim Benzema held over sextape blackmail
Photo: AFP
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.

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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