Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape and sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term and a 75,000 euro fine by a court in Versailles.
Legal meaning of SUSPENDED SENTENCE: A legal arrangement in which a person who has been found guilty of a crime is not sentenced to jail but may be sentenced for that crime at a future time if he or she commits another crime during a specified period.
The court went further than the prosecutor in its ruling on Wednesday, which only requested a 10-month suspended prison sentence against Benzema.”It was clearly announced by the court that Karim Benzema was not aware of the prior machinations and then in the end they said that ‘he cannot, not have known,’ without any proof,” one of Benzema’s lawyers Sylvain Cormier said outside of the courtroom after the verdict came in.
“They have condemned him with a very severe, unjust sentence without proof. I’m quite shocked by this ruling.” Benzema’s legal team said the 33-year player would be cleared “in the court of appeal.”
“We will of course appeal because Karim Benzema did nothing wrong in this affair,” Cormier said.
Valbuena’s lawyer Paul Albert Iweins declined to comment on Benzema’s sentence.
The case relates to the existence of a sex tape which features Valbuena, who currently plays for Greek club Olympiacos.
Benzema had been accused of pressuring Valbuena, who played alongside the Real Madrid star on the French national team, to pay blackmailers to prevent the video from becoming public.
The 33-year-old, who is currently the top goal scorer in La Liga, was initially suspended by the French national team due to the case but had returned for Euro 2020.