Real Madrid star Karim Benzema fails to show for his sex tape scandal trial due to ‘professional reasons’, to face Barcelona on Sunday, even as he faces up to five years in prison if guilty of involvement in attempted blackmail of an old team-mate
- Karim Benzema was absent for the start of his sex tape trial on Wednesday
- Real Madrid forward failed to show due to ‘professional reasons’, says his lawyer
- Benzema is charged with complicity in the attempted blackmail of Valbuena
- It is alleged the striker encouraged Valbuena to pay a group of alleged blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye
- Benzema has denied wrongdoing and his lawyer says the case is ‘absurd’
- The French forward faces up to five years in jail and a £63,000 fine if convicted
striker was not present on Wednesday morning for the opening of his three-day trial for involvement in an alleged attempt to blackmail former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
Benzema’s legal team told the court in Versailles that professional obligations made it ‘impossible’ for him to attend, given how he played in Ukraine the night before and is now training for Sunday’s El Clasico clash in LaLiga. Valbuena’s lawyer said he deplored the absence.
The 33-year-old featured in Real’s 5-0 Champions League rout over Shakhtar Donetsk in Kyiv on Tuesday, which saw the Frenchman score the final goal. Real are now preparing for Sunday’s epic El Clasico clash with Barcelona in LaLiga – one of the biggest games in world football.
Investigators allege that Benzema encouraged Valbuena to pay a group of alleged blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.
Benzema has denied wrongdoing and his lawyer has described the case against the player as ‘absurd’.
Karim Benzema (pictured) was not present for the start of his three-day trial over the alleged sex tape blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena
Benzema failed to show due to ‘professional reasons’ after playing in Ukraine and now preparing for Sunday’s El Clasico clash with Barcelona, says his lawyer
Investigators allege that Benzema (right) encouraged Valbuena (left) to pay a group of alleged blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye
Benzema and Valbuena lost their places in France’s national team in the wake of the scandal, dubbed the ‘sex tape affair’.
Benzema was recalled to the France squad for this year’s European Championship and the trial comes at a time when the 33-year-old striker is shining for club and country.
Prosecutors say Valbuena received a first call threatening to expose the sex tape in early June 2015 while at the French squad’s training centre in Clairefontaine, west of Paris.
The anonymous caller said he wanted to ‘come to an arrangement’ with Valbuena and told him to name an intermediary.
Benzema and Valbuena lost their places in France’s national team in the wake of the scandal
Prosecutors allege Benzema was recruited by the alleged blackmailers to convince his team-mate to pay up.
Benzema is accused of complicity to attempted blackmail. His four co-accused face charges of attempted blackmail.
The Real Madrid forward faces up to five years in jail and a £63,000 (€75,000) fine if convicted.
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