Benzema wins court battle over sex-tape

AFP , Tuesday 11 Jul 2017

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema looking on before the UEFA Champions League final football match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at San Siro Stadium in Milan AFP

France's highest court on Tuesday struck down a ruling putting Real Madrid star Karim Benzema on trial over the sex-tape blackmail of fellow former international Mathieu Valbuena.

The Court of Cassation annulled a Versailles Court of Appeal ruling in December to send Benzema to trial for allegedly attempting to blackmail Valbuena over the sex tape.

The case now goes before the Paris Court of Appeal which will weigh the latest ruling.

"If the chamber of instruction (of the Paris court) follows the decision of the Court of Cassation, it will have no other choice than to pronounce the entire proceedings void," Benzema's lawyer Patrice Spinosi said.

Benzema was placed under investigation and dropped from the French side after the sex-tape scandal erupted in 2015.

Investigators suspect Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers -- including one of his childhood friends -- and midfielder Valbuena, then a Lyon player.

Benzema and three of the other suspects in the blackmail investigation had asked for the case against them to be dropped.

They say police used "dishonest" methods by posing as a friend of Valbuena's in a telephone conversation with one of the accused.

Since the scandal broke Benzema has been usurped as France's star striker by Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and emerging stars including Kylian Mbappe of Monaco.

Valbuerna has left France to play for Fenerbahce in Turkey.

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