Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in an attempt to blackmail fellow player Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape.
The French footballer was one of five people on trial in Versailles, just outside of Paris, over the 2015 extortion attempt over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena’s phone.
Benzema claimed he was only trying to help his fellow player when he approached him about the sex tape at the French team’s training centre in October 2015 and told him he could help him find someone to ‘manage’ the issue of the video.
However, during sentencing on Wednesday morning, Benzema was handed a one-year suspended sentence and a €75,000 (£63,000) fine by the judge.
It’s claimed in France the four other people on trial were found guilty of being directly involved in the blackmail attempt. They were reportedly handed various punishments from an 18-month suspended sentence to two and a half years in prison.
When the trial concluded last month prosecutors had demanded Benzema, who was not present during the court proceedings, be given a 10-month suspended sentence and a fine €75,000.
The maximum sentence the former Lyon striker could have received was a five-year term in prison and €90,000 (£75,000) fine.
Noel Le Graet, the president of the French FA, recently said the outcome of the trial would have no impact on Benzema’s chances of playing for the French national team.
More to follow.
Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in an attempt to blackmail fellow player Mathieu Valbuena
Benzema’s lawyer Antoine Vey is pictured at the court in Versailles on Wednesday morning
Benzema (pictured in training on Tuesday) was on trial in France over the 2015 extortion attempt over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena’s phone
Investigators alleged that Benzema (right) encouraged Valbuena (left) to pay a group of alleged blackmailers in order to keep a sexually explicit tape out of the public eye