Karim Benzema was sentenced to one year probation for attempted extortion

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Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema has been found guilty of attempting to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena and sentenced to a suspended prison term of one year and a fine of 75,000 euros.

The case relates to the alleged recording of a sex tape on a mobile phone and Benzema was not present at the October trial, or before Wednesday morning’s tribunal.

Benzema intends to appeal the verdict, with his lawyer saying: “We are quite amazed at this verdict. An appeal is necessary. He will be acquitted when this appeal is at its highest.”

The prosecutor had requested a ten-month suspended sentence, with the most that could have been sentenced being five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 90,000 euros.

Benzema was one of five people brought to justice for the blackmail of compatriot Valbuena and the scandal cost the couple significant playing time for France.

The case originally dates back to 2015 in June, when Benzema during a French training camp pressured Valbuena to pay blackmailers he had conspired with to then act as an intermediary, prosecutors said.

Benzema has always denied the allegations and insisted he only wanted to help Valbuena destroy the video.

The president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, recently said that the outcome of the trial would have no bearing on Benzema’s international capabilities.

He said: “The coach will always be the man to choose side and Benzema will not be ruled out in the case of a conviction. It is up to Didier [Deschamps] to decide on a sporting basis. “

After six years outside the national team, the Real striker was surprisingly selected in France’s squad for the European Championship 2020 and has since played in their Nations League and World Cup qualifiers.

Valbuena currently plays for Olympiacos in Greece but has not been at international level since 2015. He scored eight goals for France, including one in the 2014 World Cup against Switzerland.

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