November 30, 2021 6:55 pm
Madrid forward Benzema absent for blackmail trial in France

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.

Benzema played in Madrid’s game in Kyiv against Shakhtar Donetsk during the Champions League. Madrid will play Barcelona in the Spanish league on Sunday.

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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