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Karim Benzema Charged to Court in Mathieu Valbuena Sex Tape Case

France's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring during their friendly soccer match against Armenia at Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

French footballer Karim Benzema is appearing before a judge in connection with a sex tape blackmail plot involving another player.

Prosecutors want the Real Madrid striker to be placed under formal investigation.

He was held in police custody in Versailles overnight.

His lawyer says he played “no part” in an attempt to extort money from fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

However, a source close to the inquiry told AFP news agency that he had admitted speaking to his team-mate “at the request of a childhood friend”.

According to French reports, Mr Benzema mentioned the tape to the midfielder during a national team training session at Clairefontaine in early October, ahead of matches against Armenia and Denmark.

It was unclear whether the 27-year-old was offering friendly advice or trying to press his team-mate to pay the blackmailers.

Sources have told French media that a relative of Mr Benzema’s was contacted by the blackmailers, in an attempt to involve him in the scheme. There has been no confirmation from police.

Three other men have been placed under formal investigation after Mr Valbuena was contacted by someone claiming to have the video.

Following the media reports, Mr Benzema’s lawyer Sylvain Cormier told Le Parisien newspaper that the striker wanted to speak to investigators to clear his name.

It is not the first time Mr Benzema has been involved in a police inquiry. Last year, he and fellow France international Franck Ribery were cleared of accusations they had slept with an under-age prostitute, who later went on to become a reality TV star and fashion designer.




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