Trial begins for Ribery and Benzema

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Trial begins for Ribery and Benzema

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France internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema went on trial on Tuesday charged with soliciting sexual relationships with an under-aged prostitute.

The pair, who play for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively, were not present at the hearing in Paris but have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

After two hours the case was adjourned until January while judges consider a plea to have the case thrown out of court.

Ribery’s lawyer Carlo-Alberto Brusa said: “His (Ribery’s) entire life was held up to the spotlight during the investigation. We hope the court will recognise the non-constitutionality of the charges, which I am appealing. Either that, or he will be acquitted and this is going to be another challenge that will imperil his private and family life.”

If convicted, Ribery and Benzema face up to three years in prison as well as a 45,000 euro fine for having sex with the prostitute named Zahia. Since the scandal broke just before the 2010 World Cup, she has become a minor celebrity in France and now has her own fashion line.