Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema will face trial for his alleged involvement in blackmailing former France teammate Matthieu Valbuena in a ‘sex tape’ scandal, the Versailles prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.
The 33-year-old, who is of Algerian descent, is accused of having pressured his former national team teammate to pay blackmailers who threatened to reveal an intimate video in which Valbuena featured.
The prosecutor’s office has now announced in a statement to The Associated Press that he will stand trial on the charge of conspiracy to attempt blackmail. A date for the trial has yet to be set.
Following his suspected involvement in the scandal, Benzema was banned from the national team in November 2015.
The investigators who charged Benzema believe he was approached by a childhood friend that year to act as an intermediary and convince Valbuena to deal directly with the blackmailers. Instead, Valbuena informed the police.
Four other people will also stand trial in the case. Benzema has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
At that time, Benzema faced heavy criticism and then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the former Lyon player had ‘no place’ in the national team.
Former French President Francois Hollande was quoted as saying in a book that Benzema was not an example of morality.