Football

Benzema's blackmail appeal rejected

A court yesterday rejected a request from Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema to drop the investigation into alleged blackmail over a sex tape featuring international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

The case, which cost Benzema a place in France's Euro 2016 squad on home soil, is now expected to go to trial next year.

"We are pretty astonished because the decision is to reject our requests for the investigation to be cancelled," said Serge Money, who represents another suspect in the case.

The Versailles appeal court also asked the investigating magistrate to consider charging former Liverpool and Marseille striker Djibril Cisse for his alleged involvement.

Investigators suspect 28-year-old Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers - including one of his childhood friends - and Lyon midfielder Valbuena.

Benzema and three of the other suspects 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.

The court rejected their arguments and ruled the police's methods were permissible.

Benzema's lawyer Sylvain Cormier said his client would fight on to clear his name.

From left: French Forward Djibrill Cisse, Mathieu Valbuena and Karim BenzemaPHOTOS: AFP

"Karim Benzema is innocent, he did nothing wrong in this case. We are going to do everything we can to prove his innocence," he said.

Valbuena's lawyer said the player was "delighted" by yesterday's decision. - AFP

crimeFranceFootball