Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema back in court for decisive hearing over Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape row… having been charged with conspiracy to blackmail ex-team-mate in 2015
- The legal case involving Karim Benzema was back in court on Monday to settle a sex-tape row with former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena
- The case first emerged back in 2015 after a complaint to police from Valbuena
- Benzema’s lawyers feel case should be dropped due to ‘dishonest’ police work
The sex-tape row case between Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena returned to court on Monday.
The Court of Cassation, the highest-ranked court in the French justice system, assembled on Monday afternoon with 19 magistrates to try and settle a case which first emerged four years ago.
Valbuena complained to police in June 2015 after he was contacted by a man who sought a lucrative deal in exchange for not publishing an intimate video of the player and his girlfriend.
The sex-tape case involving Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema returned to court on Monday
Benzema (right) was charged with conspiracy to blackmail team-mate Mathieu Valbuena (left)
Benzema has been indicted since 2015 – along with Alex Angot, Mustapha Zouaoui, Younes Houass, Karim Zenati and Djibril Cisse – on grounds of ‘complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a conspiracy’.
Monday’s plenary hearing will go through evidence on the record once again, before reaching a verdict before the end of December.
But the Real Madrid striker’s defence lawyers believe that the police may have acted dishonestly in the investigation and therefore argue that the case should subsequently be dropped.
Valbuena, pictured for Fenerbahce in 2018, made a complaint to police in 2015 after receiving a call regarding an intimate video of him and his girlfriend that was threatened with release
One policeman went undercover using the pseudonym ‘Lukas’ and lawyers, according to a report in L’Equipe, feel that he implicated Benzema and others with telephone calls later retrieved as evidence.
The transcripts are said to reveal that ‘Lukas’, initially speaking to Houass before Benzema was involved, was ‘the first to talk about money and ransom’ and it will remain a key part of the defence at the Court of Cassation.
An initial appeal to CAC on July 11, 2018, concluded that ‘Lukas’ had initiated contact after ‘weeks of silence’ with the group and is said to have ‘provocatively’ got on the topic of money.
But the Paris Court of Appeal later validated the undercover work of ‘Lukas’, paving the way for the case to go back on trial.
The case has had a major impact on Benzema’s career given he has been frozen out by the French national team ever since his indictment in 2015.
The 31-year-old missed out on the Euro 2016 campaign on home soil and France’s 2018 World Cup win, and the striker took to social media earlier this month to air his views at the French Football Federation after another snub as he expressed his desire to switch countries.
Benzema (right) has not featured for the French national team since he was charged in 2015
Aiming his Twitter rant at the FFF president, Noel Le Graet, Benzema wrote: ‘Noel, I thought you weren’t interfering with the coach’s decisions!
‘I want you to know that I and I alone would end my international career. If you think I’m finished, let me play for one of the countries that I’m eligible for and we’ll see.’
Benzema has frequently defended himself and speaking to L’Equipe about the saga in 2017, he hit out at Valbuena over the scandal and accused him ‘dragging him in the mud’.
‘There’s really something wrong with him… it’s all part of his story,’ he said.
‘For more than a year-and-a-half I’m his worst enemy, a bad guy, a thug, I have to be punished, dragged in the mud, my name and that of my family, in the dirt.
‘I am his enemy, I wanted to take money from him – he really has to stop inventing, it makes me mad he keeps on lying! Sex tape? He just had to tell the truth about what really happened.’
The Real Madrid striker is set to learn of the verdict by the court before the end of the year