Karim Benzema has been found guilty of being complicit to blackmail through a sex tape.
Karim Benzema Found Guilty of Blackmail
The Real Madrid striker has been handed a one-year suspended sentenced and fined €75,000 (£63,000) for having a role in blackmailing former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Before the verdict, the French prosecutor’s office had called for a ten-month suspended prison sentence and a €75,000. The maximum punishment Benzema could have received was a five-year jail term and a €90,000 fine.
Prosecutors accused the 33-year-old forward of being an intermediary between four other blackmailers and Valbuena. Benzema insists he was attempting to help his fellow Frenchman and continues to deny the allegation.
The lawyer of the striker stated they will appeal the ruling after being “quite flabbergasted” at the decision and they believe “he will be exonerated at the height of this appeal”.
Benzema was not present during the trial proceedings in October, or at today’s court session.
Future in the National Team
Prior to making his return to the France national team in May 2021, Benzema had been exiled for six years due to his alleged involvement in the blackmail case.
However, the president of the French Football Federation has already said he “will not be excluded” from the team, even if he was found guilty.
“The coach will continue to be responsible for the call-ups and Karim Benzema will not be excluded because of a possible judicial punishment,” Noel La Graet said.
“His selection or exclusion in the coming months with France will not be linked to this verdict. I will never intervene… It is up to coach Didier [Deschamps] to consider whether, from a sporting standpoint, Benzema is in the position to play with Les Bleus.”