The forward of the Real Madrid Karim Benzema faces as of this Wednesday in the Court of Versailles the trial for the alleged complicity in blackmailing his former teammate in the national team Mathieu Valbuena in 2015, in which you can be sentenced to five years in prison and a € 75,000 fine ($ 87,000).
The process that has overshadowed his image and kept him five years absent from the national team, in particular during the 2016 Eurocup and the World Cup in Russia in which France was proclaimed champion, it will take place in the attacker’s best sporting moment, cited as a candidate to win the Ballon d’Or in late November.
The player’s lawyers do not confirm his presence at the hearing, in the midst of a busy sports schedule, between a vital duel of Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk and an important classic against Barcelona.
Benzema could return to Versailles, the city where he spent a night in the dungeon in November 2015, before being indicted for complicity of blackmail and association of criminals, the latter charge that was not upheld by the prosecution.
Since then all attempts by his lawyers to remove him from a case in which, according to his own testimony, have failed he only acted of good will to help Valbuena, who was being blackmailed.
Justice reproaches him for having acted in favor of the blackmailers when on October 6, 2015, during a concentration of the national team in Clairefontaine, He offered his companion the help of an intermediary to get rid of the problem.
It was about Karim Zenati, a childhood friend of Benzema, who had previously warned the Madrid forward of the existence of a video of a sexual nature in which Valbuena and his wife appeared.
That file had been obtained in July 2014 by Axel Angot, known to several players for his skills in the use of computers, whom Valbuena, then a Marseille footballer, he had asked to salvage data from a damaged mobile phone.
The file ended up on Angot’s computer, who kept it saved until months later needed to pay a debt. Along with Mustapha Zouaoui, reputed for providing luxury goods to footballers and repeatedly convicted of blackmail, devised a plan to obtain compensation from Valbuena.
The idea was to inform Marseille of the existence of the video through former player Djibril Cissé and, at the same time, propose the help of Angot to erase it, something that should stimulate the generosity of the player.
But Valbuena did not react, so they went to another trusted man of footballers, Younes Houass, who called him several times in June. Instead of accepting blackmail, the Marseille player went to the police who, from that moment on, began tapping into telephone conversations.
Thus they learned that the alleged blackmailers came into contact with Zenati, who, in turn, requested the intervention of Benzema.
During the investigation of the case, the Madridista acknowledged having had that conversation in Clairefontaine, but affirmed that He did it with the sole intention of helping Valbuena, who interpreted it differently, as pressure to make him pay.
The subsequent telephone conversations of Benzema and Zenati, intervened by the police, leave the Madridista in a bad place, since in the same he treated Valbuena as a “fag” and claimed that he had “swallowed” the pressure to which he had been subjected.
Benzema admitted during the interrogations that he told Valbuena that he had seen the video himself, something that he later denied, a lie that the prosecution interprets as an attempt to increase pressure to pay.
The trial will also serve to see the reunion between Benzema and Valbuena, separated since then, first by the precautionary measures imposed by the justice and, later, by growing animosity.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.