Karim Benzema has been charged in an extortion case involving a sex tape featuring fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena, the French prosecutor’s office said on Thursday The Real Madrid striker has been charged with ‘complicity in an attempt to blackmail’ and conspiring to commit a criminal act, which is punishable by at least five years in prision. He’s been placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot meet with the victim or other people charged in the case. The prosecutor’s move, which in France’s legal system does not confirm any wrongdoing but does mean investigators have serious grounds for pursuing the matter with him, exposes Benzema to a lengthy period of doubt ahead of a Europeans nations football contest that France holds next year.
Benzema has admitted involvement in the alleged sex tape blackmail plot against Valbuena. However, the 27-year-old insistes he himself is a victim of the blackmailers. Valbuena, 31, was asked for money in return for the tape not being published, it is alleged. According to French media, Benzema mentioned the tape to the midfielder during a national team training session at Clairefontaine in early October. Three other men have been placed under formal investigation after Valbuena was contacted by someone claiming to have the video. Both Valbuena and Benzema have been excluded from the France national squad for their two internationals this month. Reports in France have also emerged of Benzema’s alleged involvement in the Air Cocaine scandal, although his agent heavily denies those claims.