France and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema was today found guilty of complicity in attempting to blackmail a former international teammate over a sex tape and sentenced to one year in suspended prison.
E was also fined €75,000. Benzema’s lawyer said the player would appeal the decision.
Benzema, who denied any wrongdoing, was not in the court of Versailles. He is due to play for the Spanish club against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later today.
“This result in no way corresponds to the reality of events,” lawyer Antoine Way later told reporters.
Real Madrid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors had argued that Benzema encouraged Matthew Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers to keep explicit sex tape out of the public eye.
He said Valbuena received the first of several phone calls threatening to expose the tapes in June 2015. Valbuena told the court that it was clear that the caller wanted the money and that the blackmail attempt threatened him for his career and place on the national team.
Prosecutors said Benzema was recruited by alleged blackmailers to encourage Valbuena to pay because his teammates had stopped by.
Benzema and Valbuena both lost their places on the national team in the wake of the scandal, which was called the “sex tape affair”.
Benzema, 33, who has played for his country more than 90 times, was recalled to the France squad for this year’s European Championships.