Ribery and Benzema cleared in prostitution case

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Ribery and Benzema cleared in prostitution case

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France Internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema were cleared of charges of solicitation of an underage prostitute by a Paris court on Thursday.

The pair were being tried on charges of paying prostitute-turned-fashion model and designer Zahia Dehar when she was aged 16 and 17.

The judge ruled that there was insufficient proof that the two men were aware she was a minor at the time.

Ribery’s lawyer Carlo Alberto Brusa said the court’s decision was expected.

He said: “As I said the other day, I want to recall that it’s a hard time for Franck and his family, he managed to react well and to recover, and this decision was expected, and awaited with a lot of emotion and impatience.”

Benzema’s Lawyer Sylvain Cormier echoed Alberto Brusa’s comments, saying: “From the beginning we knew that this case was not valid, I think that the public prosecutor was honest enough to say it during the audience.

‘‘I have said from the very beginning that this case was not valid regarding the players and especially regarding Karim Benzema. We had to wait for this audience to see this officially announced, he is innocent for the facts he was charged.”

Ribery, who plays for Bayern Munich, admitted paying for sex but insisted he did not know her age while Real Madrid striker Benzema has denied having any sexual relations with Dehar.

The two men, who were absent from the trial, faced up to three years in jail if convicted.