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PostSubject: Benzema charged in sex-tape blackmail probe   Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:45 am

French Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was charged today in connection with an alleged attempt to blackmail fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena with the use of a sex video.

Mr Benzema, 27, has been charged with "complicity in an attempt to blackmail" and conspiring to commit a criminal act, the prosecutor's office in Versailles outside Paris said

A statement from the Versailles prosecutor said the alleged crimes for which he was being investigated could carry a prison sentence of at least five years.

His lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, told reporters after a hearing that Mr Benzema was innocent and took no part in any blackmail or attempted blackmail.

The prosecutor's move - which in France's justice system does not confirm any wrongdoing but does mean investigators have serious grounds for pursuing the matter with him - exposes Mr Benzema to a lengthy period of doubt ahead of the football European Championships in France next year.

Both Mr Benzema and Mr Valbuena were today excluded from the France football squad for two international games this month.

France play Germany on November 13 in Paris and England on November 17 at Wembley.

French coach Didier Deschamps refused to comment on the legal case but said Mr Benzema was injured and not available to play for Real Madrid or France anyway.

He added that Lyon playmaker Valbuena "isn't in the best psychological condition because of this affair so I decided to let him rest during these games".

"The best is to let justice do its work and take the decisions it has to," Mr Deschamps said.
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