The French player of the Real Madrid Karim Benzema sits on the bench this Wednesday. And not the one he held during certain phases of the time of Jose Mourinho in his club, but in the place of the defendants of a court in his country that judges him for complicity in the blackmail of fellow footballer Mathieu Valbuena.
Although he will not be present, Benzema, who sounds today among the names of the candidates for the Ballon d’Or, much more is at stake in this criminal process, of which he could be sentenced with up to five years in prison. These are the keys to the trial:
Why is Benzema on trial?
Benzema is accused along with four other people of a crime of complicity in the blackmail of his compatriot Mathieu Valbuena with a sex video.
How did the reported blackmail come about?
The case began in the summer of 2014, when Axel angot, a technician whom Valbuena asked for help with his mobile phone, got hold of a video of sexual content in which that player appeared with his partner. According to the indictment, Angot and his friend Mustapha zouaoui contacted Valbuena in June 2015 to demand money from you in exchange for not spreading the images. The player, however, refused to pay and reported the facts to the police.
Then, the alleged blackmailers contacted another player, Djibril cisse, to convince Valbuena that she should pay. As they were unsuccessful, they went to Karim Zenati, a childhood friend of Benzema, to obtain the mediation of the madridista. On October 5, 2015, during a concentration of the French team, the Real Madrid footballer went to Valbuena’s room and recommended that he pay to avoid problems, something that the prosecution understands as a measure of pressure, which ended up leading to its processing.
What is Karim Benzema’s version?
Benzema assures that he is innocent and that he only limited himself to giving Valbuena some advice from a friend.
What penalty could I receive?
In the process, which will take place in the court of Versailles, Benzema could be sentenced to a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros if convicted.
What consequences has the prosecution had for Benzema?
The investigation against Benzema has already affected his sports career, especially due to the decision of Didier Deschamps, the French national coach, to dispense with the Real Madrid striker for more than five years, from the end of 2015 until the Euro 2020, which was finally played in 2021. The coach has always publicly insisted on detaching his decision from the case, although the footballer disappeared from his lists after the outbreak of the scandal.
During the player’s absence, the French team was proclaimed champion in the 2018 World Cup, played in Russia.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.