Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been charged with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group as part of an investigation over a sex tape involving France international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
A statement from the Versailles Prosecutors Office said the alleged crimes for which he was being investigated could carry a prison sentence of at least five years.
“Real Madrid’s French striker has been charged with “involvement in an attempt to blackmail and participating with ‘wrongdoers’ to commit a crime which carries a minimum five-year prison sentence”, according to the statement.
Benzema was also placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot meet with the victim or other people charged in the case.
The striker is now the fourth person to be charged in the case after three others thought to be the alleged blackmailers were charged on 17th October. The three remain in custody,
Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, said his client contacted the judge in charge of the case as soon as his name was mentioned in the media last month to let him know he was willing to answer questions from detectives.
“He wants to put an end as soon as possible to this controversy that rose from a case he did not take part in,” Cormier said on Wednesday.
This will be a massive distraction for Benzema, Real Madrid and France as this case could well carry on until next summeer, threatening to disrupt not only Real Madrid’s season but the 2016 EUROS which will be held in France next summer.