Madrid forward Benzema absent for blackmail trial in France
VERSAILLES (AP) — Karim Benzema, Real Madrid’s forward, was not present Wednesday at the opening of his three day trial. He is accused of trying to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena, a former France teammate, over a sex cassette.
The 33-year-old Benzema’s legal team told the court in Versailles that professional obligations made it “impossible” for him to attend. The lawyer for Valbuena said that he regretted his absence.
Four other people were also charged with attempted blackmail. Benzema is being tried for complicity to attempted blackmail.
The charges are punishable by up to five years in prison and a 75,000 euro ($87,400) fine. Benzema denied any wrongdoing.
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