Trial date set for Benzema blackmail case

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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will face trial in October for his alleged involvement in blackmailing former France teammate Matthieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

The Versailles prosecutor’s office has said Benzema will stand trial from 20-22 October on the charge of complicity in attempted blackmail.

The 33-year-old denies any wrongdoing.

Benzema is suspected of pressuring Valbuena in 2015 to pay blackmailers who threatened to reveal an intimate video in which Valbuena featured.

The striker has since been banned from the national team since November 2015 because of his suspected involvement in the scandal, despite consistent appearances for Real Madrid.

The investigators who charged Benzema believed he was approached by a childhood friend that year to act as an intermediary and convince Valbuena to deal directly with the blackmailers. Instead, Valbuena informed the police.

Four other people will also stand trial over the attempted blackmail scheme. When the story broke, Benzema faced a deluge of criticism and then Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he had no place in the national team.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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