France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been placed under formal investigation over an alleged attempt to blackmail his fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
The pair have been forbidden from contacting each other.
French news agency AFP claim Benzema has admitted being involved in the case. He is said to have advised Valbuena to pay the extortionists after intervening at the request of a childhood friend who was approached by three crooks who possessed the footage.
Benzema’s lawyers say he acted to help his friend and team-mate without thinking he was doing any wrong.
Involvement in a blackmail plot can led to a five-year jail sentence in France.
Several people have been arrested over the scandal including former French international Djibril Cisse who was cleared after being taken into custody last month.