Real Madrid soccer star Karim Benzema convicted of helping bribe a former teammate over a sex tape

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Real Madrid soccer star Karim Benzema convicted of helping bribe a former teammate over a sex tape
Karim Benzema.Getty/Angel Martinez
  • Benzema was found guilty of helping to blackmail a former teammate over a sex tape.
  • He was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and was fined around $84,100.

A French court found soccer star Karim Benzema guilty of being complicit in the attempted blackmail of a former teammate over a sex tape.

Benzema was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and was fined 75,000 euros ($84,100), The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors say that Benzema worked with other people to blackmail the soccer player Mathieu Valbuena while the two of them were at a training camp for the French national team in 2015, the BBC reported.

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The video had been taken from Valbuena's cellphone, The Times reported.

According to the BBC, Valbuena had asked a man in Marseille, Axel Angot, to upload contents of his cellphone to a new device.

Angot found sexually explicit material on the phone and was accused alongside another defendant in the trial, Mustapha Zouaoui, of trying to blackmail Valbuena by threatening to make the tape public.

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The court was told that Benzema became involved when a childhood friend of his, Karim Zenati, became involved in the scam.

Benzema was said to have approached Valbuena at a French training camp in 2015 and warned him "Be careful, Math, they're big, big thugs."

The Real Madrid striker then offered to put Valbuena in touch with Zenati. Benzema was later recorded by the police telling Zenati that "He's [Valbuena] not taking us seriously."

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According to the BBC, Zenati is said to have replied: "We're here to sort it out; if he doesn't want that he'll have to deal with the piranhas."

When the allegations first emerged, both players were dropped from the French national team with Benzema only making his return for Euro 2020 this year.

Benzema denied wrongdoing, saying he was only helping Valbuena.

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He was one of five people on trial in the case, the BBC reported. He did not attend court for the verdict and is expected to play in Real Madrid's Champions League match against FC Sheriff Tiraspol on Wednesday.

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