Real Madrid star Benzema drops sex tape conviction appeal over attempted extortion of former team-mate Valbuena

KARIM BENZEMA has withdrawn his appeal against the conviction for helping four friends blackmail Mathieu Valbuena with a sextape.

It means the November guilty verdict stands and the Real Madrid star accepts a one-year suspended sentence and a £62,000 fine.

Karim Benzema has ended his appeal over his racketeering conviction

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Karim Benzema has ended his appeal over his racketeering convictionPhoto credit: Getty
Mathieu Valbuena (right) was threatened with the distribution of a sex tape

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Mathieu Valbuena (right) was threatened with the distribution of a sex tapePhoto credit: Reuters

Judges at the Versailles Criminal Court had previously ruled Benzema guilty of “aiding in the attempted extortion” of former France player Valbuena, 37, and the appeal was dropped on Friday.

“He’s exhausted from the process,” said the player’s lawyer Hugues Vigier, who claimed the conviction was “a judicial truth but not a reality”.

Four co-defendants, all old friends of the France forward, were also found guilty of attempted extortion.

All are said to have humiliated Valbuena by threatening to release a sex tape “in the English media” showing him having “intimate relationships” with a partner.

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Benzema himself called the accusations “absurd” after seeing him and Valbuena left out of the France squad ahead of their 2018 World Cup win in Russia.

It was only this season that Benzema was finally reinstated in the Les Bleus first-team and he has played some of the best footballers of his career.

He scored for France against Denmark on Friday night and a week ago helped Real Madrid beat Liverpool and win the Champions League for the fifth time.

Valbuena first filed a formal complaint with police in June 2015 after being called by an unknown person about the sex tape.

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The police then posed as friends of Valbuena and lured four extortionists into a trap, and they were arrested.

Two of the group were linked to former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse, who was originally arrested in connection with the case but was later released.

Younes Houass, 32, one of the main blackmailers alongside Moustapha Zouaoui and Axel Angot, spent four months in custody in 2016. Like Benzema, all denied any wrongdoing.

Valbuena now plays for Greek club Olympiacos.

In 2014, Benzema was acquitted of all charges during a sex trial against a minor in Paris in which his co-defendant was former France international Franck Ribery.

Both players denied knowingly paying for sex with Zahia Dehar when she was under 18.

Benzema is currently being supported through his legal troubles by his wife, French model Cora Gauthier, 29.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5489010/real-madrid-benzema-valbuena/ Real Madrid star Benzema drops sex tape conviction appeal over attempted extortion of former team-mate Valbuena

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