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French footballer Karim Benzema found guilty in sex tape blackmail scandal

France's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the World Cup 2022 group D qualifying match.
France's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the World Cup 2022 group D qualifying match. Copyright Michel Euler/AP Photo
Copyright Michel Euler/AP Photo
By Euronews with AFP
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French footballer Karim Benzema has received a 1-year suspended prison sentence over a sex tape blackmail trial.

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French footballer Karim Benzema was found guilty of complicity in a sex tape blackmail scandal.

The Real Madrid forward, 33, was accused of blackmailing French teammate Mathieu Valbuena in 2015.

He was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence and has to pay a €75,000 fine.

Benzema's lawyers announced that he planned to appeal the judgement; he has denied wrongdoing.

The four other defendants in the case received sentences ranging from an 18-month suspended sentence to two and a half years in prison.

Benzema claims he was helping his teammate get rid of a problem in the form of a compromising video, saying he could introduce Valbuena to someone he trusted to help.

The conviction of Benzema is unlikely to impact the star striker's sporting career, with French football federation President Noël Le Graët telling Le Parisien that he would not be "excluded" from the national team in the event of a judicial sanction.

"Even if he receives a suspended prison sentence, he still has the possibility of appealing a conviction," Le Graët said.

Benzema is also considered to be a possible favourite for the Ballon d'Or that will be awarded next week.

He returned to the French team to play in the Euro 2020 championship after being sidelined for five and a half years and has put in a series of good performances for France ever since.

Since the scandal erupted, Valbuena, 37, has not been called up to play for his country. He currently plays for the Greek team Olympiacos.

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