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On Thursday morning, Karim Benzema was charged with “complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act” – a crime punishable with up to five years in prison. The French forward had spent the previous night in custody after being brought in for questioning hours before that. On Thursday, he was brought in front of a judge at the Versailles Palace, who granted him conditional freedom under supervision.
Spain’s Diario ABC claim that, according to an unnamed source, Benzema admitted to having served as an intermediary for the extortion, but said that he did so only because he “wanted to help his friend”.
The Real Madrid striker and French International “has admitted to having intervened, at the request of a childhood friend, who had been approached by three criminals that had in their power a tape with sexual images of the Olympique Lyon player”, the sources explained.
Benzema has claimed that he “wanted to help his friend,” without knowing that doing so could harm Valbuena.
However, this story has been refuted by Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvan Cormier.
“Karim Benzema will show his good faith in this matter as soon as possible,” he told reporters. “He was charged by the judge who notified him that he was a suspect … It is not a declaration of guilt.
“Karim Benzema is happy, even satisfied, to be able to finally put an end to this painful controversy. It’s an affair he took no part in,” he added.
We know three others have been pressed with preliminary charges.
The investigation is known to have started months ago, when, allegedly, Valbuena went to the police seeking legal action after being blackmailed. In October, former French International Djibril Cisse was brought in for questioning regarding the same matter – however, he was released free of charges.
Benzema, who has been injured since the month of October, has yet to make an official statement regarding the incident. Real Madrid has not commented on the matter either.
Both Valbuena and Benzema were absent from Didier Deschamps’ latest national team squad list, which was emitted on Thursday.
Without the two stars, les Bleus will face England and Spain in two upcoming friendlies.