December 2, 2021

Benzema trial: the key dates to understand the sextape affair

Back in the France team since last May, Karim Benzema should know the outcome judicial of the sextape case by Mathieu Valbuena, this week, with the trial at the Versailles Criminal Court which opens on Wednesday for three days of debates. Since October 2015, this scandal has accompanied the Real Madrid striker, but also Mathieu Valbuena, his former teammate with the Blues. A look back at the six years of an affair that made the headlines.

October 2015: the case comes to light

The France team has just played two friendly matches against Armenia and Denmark at the start of October 2015. Djibril Cissé and three other people are taken into custody. The four men are allegedly involved in a sextape blackmail case against Mathieu Valbuena, the playmaker of the Blues and Olympique Lyonnais. The latter would have received in June of the same year several phone calls from men urging him to pay them more than 100,000 euros so as not to broadcast an intimate video of him and his companion. Valbuena files a complaint and investigators from the Versailles judicial police set a trap for the three men involved at the start of the case.

During the regrouping of the France team in October, Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema would have had a discussion about this sextape. According to investigators, who have been working on the case for five years now, the Real Madrid striker is urging his teammate to pay the ransom. Enter Karim Zenati, a childhood friend of Benzema also indicted, who would have been charged by the blackmailers to convince the number 10 of the Blues to discuss with Valbuena. The Real striker will initially defend himself from being simply “intervened in a friendly way with Mathieu Valbuena, to tell him not to let it go.”

November 2015: Benzema taken into custody

Benzema was taken into police custody on November 4, 2015 in Versailles. Indicted for “complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a criminal association”, Benzema was placed under judicial supervision and could not come into contact with Valbuena. The latter responds to the first requests from the media and is said in The world “disappointed, more than disappointed” by his teammate of the France team, adding that “even to his worst enemy, he wouldn’t do that.”

2016: judicial review lifted, Euro at home

In February, the investigating judge in charge of the investigation decides to partially lift the judicial control of the Real Madrid striker, while he remains indicted. Karim Benzema can again get in touch with Mathieu Valbuena, and the question of a return to Blue arises. Finally, the FFF and Didier Deschamps decide not to summon the Real star for Euro 2016, which takes place in France. “Sports performance is an important but not exclusive criterion in deciding the selection within the French football team, wrote the FFF in a press release. The ability of the players to work in the direction of unity, within and around the group, the exemplarity and the preservation of the group are also taken into account by all the coaches of the Federation “.

A decision that will later make Benzema say that Deschamps “gave in under pressure from a racist part of France.” For his part, Valbuena will not participate in Euro 2016 either after a mixed season on the side of OL. While Benzema remains indicted, the Versailles Court of Appeal, seized by the prosecution, validates the progress of the investigation in December, while the players’ lawyers contest the loyalty of the latter.

January 2021: the Versailles public prosecutor’s office announces the referral of Benzema to the criminal court

The French international Karim Benzema is sent back to correctional for “complicity in attempted blackmail”. Four other men are also referred in this case for attempted blackmail and one of them for breach of trust. Former international Djibril Cissé was dismissed from prosecution. Two months later, the Versailles court announced that the trial would be held from October 20 to 22.

May 2021: Karim Benzema recalled in Blue for the first time since the start of the case

It’s a surprise. A few hours before the announcement of the 26 players for the Euro of Didier Deschamps, the rumor swells. It becomes reality: Didier Deschamps recalls Karim Benzema in the France team to compete in the 2021 European Championship. Forgotten about the sextape affair and President Le Graët’s refusal to see him again in Blue until it is over , forgotten the quarrel between the coach and the player after the statements of the latter accusing Deschamps “to have yielded to a racist part of France”.

October 2022: the trial at the Versailles Criminal Court

Six years after the beginnings of this case, the protagonists meet at the court of Versailles, from Wednesday to Friday. The 33-year-old and four other defendants will be tried for their participation in this affair. Mathieu Valbuena, 37, will be present at Versailles. The maximum penalty incurred by Karim Benzema, prosecuted for complicity in attempted blackmail, is five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 70,000 euros.

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