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K. Benzema

Benzema sex-tape trial: 'Exhausted' Real Madrid star drops appeal after guilty verdict in Valbuena blackmail case

6:30 AM EDT 6/4/22
Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2021-22
The Real Madrid forward was found guilty of being complicit in a criminal plot against his former France international team-mate

Karim Benzema has dropped the appeal against his one-year suspended prison sentence, and €75,000 fine, after being found guilty of blackmailing his former France international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema stood trial in October 2021 for his role in former Lyon and France team-mate Valbuena being blackmailed over a sex tape ahead of a friendly against Armenia six years ago.

What has Benzema's lawyer said about dropping the appeal?

Benzema's lawyer Hugues Vigier has told L'Equipe that the Madrid star has dropped the appeal because he has grown "exhausted" by the process.

He added: "This withdrawal endorses a ruling of condemnation and apparently of guilt. It is a judicial truth. But it is not reality.

"Karim Benzema will always claim his innocence in this case and he never wanted to participate in a blackmail operation against Mathieu Valbuena."

Explaned: The Benzema-Valbuena sex-tape controversy

Blackmailers threatened to release a sex tape in which Valbuena appeared unless they were paid off, and Benzema was accused of encouraging his former team-mate to pay the group.

However, Valbuena alerted authorities instead of dealing with the blackmailers directly, and Benzema was exiled from the France national team once his role in the scandal came to light. 

Didier Deschamps eventually recalled the 34-year-old ahead of Euro 2020.

Benzema, who labelled the charges a "masquerade" and did not turn up to court and thus was tried in absentia, could have faced up to five years in prison for the charges.

Valbuena, who attended the trial, explained his motives in informing the authorities of his old France's team-mate's scheme. 

He said during the trial in October 2021: "When he (Benzema) told me he wanted to talk to me, I did not think he would talk to me about that.

"When I had that conversation, I came out of the room, I was shocked. I felt that he insisted that I meet with a person who was to act as an intermediary. He was very insistent."

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