Prosecutors in France have called for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzrma to be given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 (£63,194) fine over his involvement in an alleged blackmail attempt on former French international teammate Mathieu Valbuena regarding a sextape.
Benzema failed to show for the second day of the trial in Versailles, France, with his legal representatives telling the court that it was ‘impossible’ for him to attend due to his professional obligations, a decision that was labelled ‘cavalier '. The 33-year-old striker, who has since made a return to the French national side, played for Real Madrid in Ukraine on Tuesday night, and he is with his team ahead of the Clasico match against Barcelona this Sunday.
At the heart of the case is the allegation is that Benzema gave Valbuena advice to pay a group of alleged blackmailers to keep his sex tape away from the public. Benzema and his lawyers deny the allegation.
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The President of the Tribunal hit out at the striker’s absence, saying: “I find it cavalier that he is not here and that we do not have many resources presented to us on this element of the trial.”
Similarly, Valbuena - who now plays for Olympiacos - will not attend Thursday’s session as he is set to play for the Greek side in their Europa League against Frankfurt in Germany.
French radio station RMC reported that a verdict could be delivered as early as Friday, and the striker could be jailed for up to five years and fined 75,000 euros. However, prosecutors have asked for a 10-month suspended sentence, meaning he would face no immediate jail time.
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Maitre Antoine Vey, Karim Benzema's lawyer, said according to Marca: “This matter, from day one, has had a huge impact on both sides.
"Judicial information was produced by leaks in the press. Both learned of Benzema's participation more from the press than from Valbuena himself. It has repercussions.
“Beyond that, it is a case in which Benzema has always remembered his total innocence. He does not get involved directly in the exchanges that concern other defendants.
“His voice is easy to carry: he intervened in a single conversation with Mr. Valbuena to offer, if he so wished, freely and without consideration, to try to prevent this sex tape from coming out.”
Prosecutors claim that Benzema was recruited by blackmailers to facilitate a deal, and that the striker was part of the blackmail, with four others also charged as part of the alleged crime.
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