Real Madrid’s Benzema drops ‘sex tape’ appeal: lawyer

PARIS, France – Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema (picture) has dropped an appeal against a one-year suspended sentence for complicity in a bid to blackmail former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape, his lawyer said Saturday.

Lawyer Hugues Vigier told French sports daily L’Equipe he did so because he was “exhausted” by the process.

“This withdrawal endorses a ruling of condemnation and apparently of guilt. It is a judicial truth. But it is not reality,” he said.

Scrapping the appeal makes definitive a November 2021 ruling against him.

The sentence for the 2015 extortion attempt, which led Benzema to be cast out of the France team for five-and-a-half years, was tougher than prosecutors had requested.

Benzema was also fined 75,000 euros ($82,000) in the case.

Benzema, 34, was not accused of being behind the extortion attempt but rather of conspiring with the suspected blackmailers by putting pressure on Valbuena to pay them off.

The court in Versailles outside Paris ruled that he had “implicated himself personally, through subterfuge and lies, to convince his team-mate to submit to the blackmail”.

It added that he had shown “no kindness towards Valbuena”, as he had claimed, “just the opposite” and had even appeared to take pleasure in his fellow player’s demise. –AFP