Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema may be facing a criminal trial after France’s highest court of appeal on Monday dismissed his appeal challenging the legality of a blackmail investigation over a sex tape featuring ex-teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
The court found that the investigative methods used in the case, in which Benzema is alleged to have colluded in blackmailing Valbuena, were within the law.
Benzema and Valbuena were both in the French national team at the time of the attempted blackmail.
In June 2015, Valbuena, who now plays for Greek club Olympiakos, filed a complaint, claiming he was the victim of an attempted blackmail after receiving a call informing him of the existence of a sex tape in which he appeared.
Investigators suspect 31-year-old Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers – including one of his childhood friends – and Valbuena.
Benzema, indicted for “complicity in attempted blackmail”, challenged the investigation methods of a police officer who intervened undercover.
His legal team claimed the police used dishonest methods by posing as a friend of Valbuena in a telephone conversation with one of the accused.
The court, however, ruled yesterday that there had been no “breach of fairness”, overruling an opinion made in 2017.
The sex tape scandal saw Benzema – one of France’s top footballers – dropped from the national side in 2015.
He hasn’t been recalled by coach Didier Deschamps since then.