Karim Benzema, “exhausted” by the procedure, has given up appealing in the Mathieu Valbuena “sextape” case. This case, which lasted more than six years, resulted in a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 75,000 euros for the Real Madrid striker.
The “sextape” affair is coming to an end, six and a half years after the facts: Karim Benzema has given up his appeal in the trial against his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena, confirming his sentence to one year in prison suspended. Sentenced in November 2021 to this suspended prison sentence and a 75,000 fine at first instance by the Versailles Criminal Court for complicity in attempted blackmail, the Real Madrid star striker finally withdrew his appeal, as his lawyer said.
October 2015, the start of the business
In the media, the case began on October 13, 2015: Djibril Cissé was placed in police custody, as part of an investigation into an attempted extortion of funds against Mathieu Valbuena, who filed a complaint during the summer. The police report blackmail linked to a recording of sexual intercourse, which three individuals allegedly obtained. Considered in good faith, Cissé is released at the end of his hearing. “As far as I am concerned, I have nothing to reproach Djibril for behaving like a friend, trying to help me”, then testifies Valbuena on Facebook.
A month later, Benzema heard and indicted
On November 4, 2015, Karim Benzema, summoned, was placed in police custody. Telephone recordings in support, he is suspected of having participated in the blackmail, on the occasion of the gathering of the France team in Clairefontaine which occurred the previous month. After 24 hours of hearing, the Real Madrid striker is indicted for criminal association and attempted blackmail. Judicial control is imposed on him, with a ban on contacting Mathieu Valbuena. According to a source familiar with the matter quoted by AFP, Karim Benzema “acknowledged having intervened with Valbuena at the request of a childhood friend”, in this case Karim Zenati. However, he maintains his innocence. But Mathieu Valbuena charges it in an interview with World: “At some point, I can’t defend the indefensible. Even to my worst enemy, I wouldn’t do that,” criticizes Mathieu Valbuena in an interview.
Benzema ruled out of Les Bleus and Euro 2016
Six months before the start of the Euro in France, Karim Benzema “is no longer selectable until the situation changes”, announces Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation. “I respect the decision and I have confidence in our president”, reacts the striker, who announces himself, in April, his non-participation in the European championship. The FFF confirms, pleading “the exemplarity and the preservation of the group”.
The controversial statement in Marca
While the Blues are playing the Euro, Karim Benzema gives an interview to brand. He then declares that Didier Deschamps “gave in to pressure from a racist part of France”. The remarks are controversial, especially since the coach will later deplore accusations of discrimination against him, with in particular a tag of the word “racist” on his house during the month of June 2016.
Several years of procedures and absences at the Blues
In July 2017, Karim Benzema, still deprived of the France team, obtained two legal victories. The first with the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation, which invalidates part of the investigation. At issue: the role of a policeman, who acted undercover, but is considered to have instigated the commission of the offence. The second victory concerns the total lifting of its judicial control.
Karim Benzema then tries to get the entire investigation null and void. But whether in November 2018, then in December 2019, justice dismisses the attacker. “The masquerade continues,” he denounces.
The announcement of the trial in 2021
The Versailles prosecutor’s office ends up sending Karim Benzema to corrections for “complicity in attempted blackmail”. His trial is announced for October 2021. Four other suspects are also called to appear for attempted blackmail, complicity or breach of trust. “Here is finally vamonos (here we go), that the masquerade goes out forever”, reacts the player.
Back to the Blues before the trial
To everyone’s surprise, Karim Benzema, in very good shape with Real Madrid, was called up by Didier Deschamps to compete in Euro 2021. He had not played with the Blues since October 8, 2015 in Nice. “I have already been confronted with difficult situations, I have ignored my personal case”, justifies the coach, evoking a long discussion.
The first instance trial
The trial of Karim Benzema and the four other defendants is being held at the Versailles Criminal Court from October 20 to 22, 2021. The footballer, who continues to claim his innocence, is absent, restrained by his busy schedule at Real Madrid, according to his tips.
Benzema condemned, he appeals
On November 24, 2021, Karim Benzema was found guilty of the crime of complicity in attempted blackmail. The court goes beyond the requisitions of the prosecution and sentences the player to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 75,000 euros. The four other defendants are also sentenced: childhood friend Karim Zenati receives fifteen months in prison for conversion, for having participated in the blackmail.
The Versailles Criminal Court believes that the footballer was “personally involved, at the cost of subterfuge and lies, to convince his teammate to submit to blackmail”. The striker showed “no benevolence towards Mathieu Valbuena, quite the contrary” and acted “with a certain excitement, even a certain jubilation”, according to the president.
Karim Benzema then announces that he is appealing. He is the only one of the five defendants to challenge his conviction. The new trial is announced for June 30 and July 1, before the 9th chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal.
Benzema waives appeal
His lawyer announced it on the evening of the France-Denmark match at the Stade de France on June 3, 2022: Karim Benzema waived his appeal, which confirmed his conviction. The withdrawal order must be notified to the parties on June 7 by the Versailles Court of Appeal. “It’s a judicial truth. But it’s not the reality,” said Hugues Vigier.