Karim Benzema has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of being complicit in the attempted blackmail of his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema had denied any wrongdoing after prosecutors said he had encouraged former France international team-mate Valbuena to pay some blackmailers in order to keep a sexually explicit tape private.
The Versailles Court also ordered the Real Madrid star to pay a 75,000 euro fine for his involvement in the sex tape scandal that resulted in Benzema being frozen out from the French national team for several years.
The Prosecutor’s Office requested the lowest jail sentence against Benzema but imposed him the highest possible fine, with the Frenchman being the only person who was not accused of blackmail in this case.
Benzema, who did not attend the trial last month and was absent for the verdict, will appeal the conviction. “This outcome in no way corresponds with the reality of events,” lawyer Antoine Vey said afterwards.
The four other defendants on trial were handed sentences of between 18 months suspended to two-and-a-half years in prison by a court in Versailles.
Meanwhile, Noel Le Graet, the current president of the French Football Federation, made clear three weeks ago that the court’s decision would not affect Benzema‘s career with Les Blues.
This means that despite being found guilty, the Real Madrid striker will participate at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with France after leading them to UEFA Nations League glory back in October.
Benzema was called up to take part in last summer’s European Championship, and he has scored nine goals 11 official games since his return to the national team.