SportsThe French Prosecutor's Office asks for 10 months in prison for Benzema...

The French Prosecutor’s Office asks for 10 months in prison for Benzema for the alleged sexual blackmail of Valbuena


Benzema, during a match with France in the Nations League.FRANCK FIFE (AFP)

On the first truly autumnal day in Paris, the clouds began to clear for Karim Benzema. The prosecution of the Court of Versailles, on the outskirts of the French capital, which has been trying the Real Madrid striker since Wednesday for his alleged complicity in the blackmail of his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a video of a sexual nature, has requested this Thursday a 10-month jail sentence exempt from compliance for the Real Madrid player.

Whatever the judges decide in a trial whose hearings are scheduled to last until this Friday, the penalty is much less than up to five years in prison that threatened to possibly irreversibly damage the career of the 33-year-old French footballer. And the 75,000 euros fine that accompanies the prosecution’s request for a penalty, should not cloud the more than likely relief of a player on whom the shadow of suspicion in this case has planned for the last six years and who was therefore away until this 2021 of the French team.

Despite the fact that the request for conviction is much smaller than what has been considered so far, “Benzema is not a good Samaritan who came to help, he acted to allow the negotiators to achieve their goals and the blackmailers to get the money,” said the prosecutor Ségolène Marés in her final statement, according to the Agence France Presse.

The Madrid player was charged in this case for a conversation he had with Valbuena in which he alerted him of the consequences of not responding to the threats of the blackmailers, which made the former Olympique de Marseille player suspect that the Madridista was involved in the plot. .

The events date back to October 6, 2015. Then, Benzema went to Valbuena’s room during a concentration of the Bleus at the Clairefontaine training center, about 40 kilometers southwest of Paris, and explained to his partner that he could introduce him to “someone you trust” to help him “manage” the possible publication of a compromising video.

“Watch out, they are great bullies.”

“Watch out, Math. They are great, great bullies ”, the Real Madrid player warned him, for whom, as he later explained, it was a way to help his teammate. Valbuena (37 years old) instead confessed his impression that his words had a “threatening tone”.

The different version of the two players on facts recognized by both has been the key to all the investigations and the trial that should now end a legal battle that has lasted for six years. The other four defendants for the plot have sat in the dock these days: Axel Angot and Mustapha Zouaoui, the alleged masterminds of blackmail; Karim Zenati, Benzema’s childhood friend and whom the blackmailers allegedly turned to to persuade Benzema to act as an intermediary; and Younes Houass, who ultimately acted as the alleged go-between for the blackmailers. The prosecution has requested for these defendants penalties ranging from 18 months to four years in prison.

Benzema was the only one of the defendants who did not appear at the oral hearing these days, relying on his sports obligations. His lawyer, Antoine Vey, explained that the player was absent for “professional reasons.” On Tuesday, the attacker played a Champions League match with his team in Kiev, against Shakhtar. The Madrid player was the one who got the best out of the requisition among the accused, since he is also the only one who is not charged with the blackmail charge. The Prosecutor’s Office only accuses him of complicity, since it takes for granted that his objective was not to profit.

The second prosecutor, Julien Eyraud, assured that his request for penalties is ranked based on their involvement in the blackmail plot of each of them, but also on their social dimension and personality. In the case of the Madrid attacker, he acknowledged that “he is not just anyone” and that “without his presence, this case would not have gained so much dimension.”

Prison, only if he relapses

“He is the bearer of an image, of a hope for many, of a celebrity. Of all those values. Like every public person, like every star. His public performances, his charitable acts are in contrast to helping his friend in an attempt to blackmail, “he said.

If the court’s sentence coincides with the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, Benzema would only have to enter prison in case of recidivism.

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