Preliminary charges of “conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group” have been filed against Karim in a Versailles court.
He has been freed pending investigation (and has returned to Madrid) but could face a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison if convicted. Already, this has impacted his career. As he isn’t allowed to be in contact with anyone involved in the case, both he and Mathieu Valbuena have been left off the France squad for the upcoming international matches. Granted, he was already injured and would have missed the games but this sort of scandal doesn’t look good for him.
He’s admitted that he knew about the sex tape and was involved to some extent via a childhood friend. From Eurosport:
A source close to the investigation divulged information to AFP. The source said:
” Karim Benzema has recognised that he intervened with Valbuena at the request of a childhood friend approached by three crooks who had a sex tape in their possession. He said that he agreed with a childhood friend about what he would say in order that his team-mate would negotiate exclusively with him. ”
AFP also adds that Benzema said he wanted to help his friend without thinking that he was doing wrong by Valbuena. Benzema is thought to have discussed the matter with Valbuena in October when France met up for matches against Armenia and Denmark.
Keep an eye on the live feed updates from Get French Football News. It’s got all sorts of additional information. And it gets worse…. Rumors are being bandied out that Karim was also involved with the Air Cocaine operation, one of the largest drug trafficking scandals ever in France. One of the suspects, Ali Bouchareb, is supposedly close with Benz. Obviously, that doesn’t make him involved, but he needs to stay completely clear of even a whiff of impropriety if he wants to keep his career. I’m guessing the rumor mill will run rampant at this point and have him associated with everything from “Who shot Annalise Keating?” to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.
As I said to mygypsyspirit this morning, I knew his stupid faux-gangster posturing would come back to bite him in the arse someday.