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Karim Benzema, “exhausted” by the procedure, has given up appealing in the case of Mathieu Valbuena’s “sextape”. This case, which lasted more than six years, resulted in a suspended year in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros for the Real Madrid striker.
The “sextape” affair comes to an end, six and a half years after the events: Karim Benzema has withdrawn his appeal in the trial against his former partner Mathieu Valbuena, confirming his suspended sentence of one year in prison. Sentenced in November 2021 to this suspended prison sentence and a fine of 75,000 euros in the first instance by the Versailles Criminal Court for complicity in attempted blackmail, the Real Madrid star striker finally withdrew his appeal, as his lawyer said.
October 2015, start of business
In the media, the case began on October 13, 2015: Djibril Cissé was taken into police custody, as part of an investigation for an attempted extortion of funds against Mathieu Valbuena, who filed a complaint during the summer. The police denounce a blackmail linked to a recording of sexual relations, which three individuals supposedly obtained. Considered in good faith, Cissé is released at the end of his hearing. “As far as I’m concerned, I have nothing to reproach Djibril for behaving like a friend, trying to help me,” Valbuena testifies on Facebook.
A month later, Benzema listened and accused
On November 4, 2015, Karim Benzema, quoted, was taken into police custody. Telephone recordings in support, it is suspected that he participated in the blackmail, on the occasion of the meeting of the France team in Clairefontaine that occurred the previous month. After 24 hours of hearing, the Real Madrid striker is charged with criminal association and attempted blackmail. He is imposed judicial control, with a ban on contacting Mathieu Valbuena. According to a source familiar with the matter cited by AFP, Karim Benzema “recognized having intervened with Valbuena at the request of a childhood friend”, in this case Karim Zenati. However, he maintains his innocence. But Mathieu Valbuena charges it in an interview with World: “At some point I can’t defend the indefensible. Not even before my worst enemy would I do that,” criticizes Mathieu Valbuena in an interview.
Benzema ruled out for Les Bleus and Euro 2016
Six months before the start of the European Championship in France, Karim Benzema “is no longer eligible until the situation changes”, announces Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation. “I respect the decision and I have confidence in our president”, reacted the striker, who announced, in April, his non-participation in the European Championship. The FFF confirms this, advocating “exemplarity and the preservation of the group”.
The controversial statement in Marca
While the Blues play the European Championship, Karim Benzema grants an interview to brand. He then states that Didier Deschamps “gave in to pressure from a racist part of France.” The comments are controversial, especially as the coach will later deplore allegations of discrimination against him, in particular a “racist” tag on his home during June 2016.
Several years of procedures and absences in the Blues
In July 2017, Karim Benzema, still deprived of the France national team, won two legal victories. The first with the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation, which invalidates part of the investigation. In question: the role of a police officer, who acted undercover, but is considered to have instigated the commission of the crime. The second victory concerns the complete lifting of judicial control from him.
Karim Benzema then tries to nullify the entire investigation. But either in November 2018, then in December 2019, justice dismisses the aggressor. “The masquerade continues,” he denounces.
The announcement of the trial in 2021
The Versailles prosecutor’s office ends up sending Karim Benzema to a correctional facility for “complicity in attempted blackmail”. His trial is announced for October 2021. Four other suspects are also called to appear for attempted blackmail, complicity or breach of trust. “Here it is finally let’s go (here we go), let the masquerade go out forever,” the player reacts.
Back to the Blues before the trial
To everyone’s surprise, Karim Benzema, in very good form with Real Madrid, was called up by Didier Deschamps to compete in Euro 2021. He had not played for the Blues since October 8, 2015 in Nice. “I have already faced difficult situations, I have ignored my personal case”, justifies the coach, evoking a long discussion.
The court of first instance
The trial of Karim Benzema and the other four defendants is held at the Versailles Criminal Court from October 20 to 22, 2021. The footballer, who continues to claim his innocence, is absent, inhibited by his busy schedule at the Real Madrid, according to their advice
Benzema sentenced, appeals
On November 24, 2021, Karim Benzema was found guilty of the crime of complicity in attempted blackmail. The court goes beyond the requirements of the prosecution and sentences the player to a year in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros. The other four defendants are also sentenced: the childhood friend Karim Zenati receives fifteen months in prison for conversion, for having participated in the blackmail.
The Versailles Criminal Court believes that the footballer “participated personally, at the cost of subterfuge and lies, to convince his teammate to submit to blackmail”. The striker did not show “any benevolence towards Mathieu Valbuena, quite the opposite” and acted “with a certain enthusiasm, even with a certain joy”, according to the president.
Karim Benzema then announces that he is appealing. He is the only one of the five defendants who contested his conviction. The new trial is announced for June 30 and July 1, before the 9th room of the Versailles Court of Appeal.
Benzema waives the appeal
His lawyer announced it on the night of the France-Denmark match at the Stade de France on June 3, 2022: Karim Benzema gave up his appeal, which confirmed his conviction. The withdrawal order must be notified to the parties on June 7 by the Versailles Court of Appeal. “It is a judicial truth. But it is not reality”, said Hugues Vigier.