A French court has rejected Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema’s request to stop a trial over his alleged attempt to blackmail fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena using a sex tape.
The affair involved footage, shot on a mobile, that could prove embarrassing for Valbuena, according to sources close to the inquiry.
According to Police, Benzema’s name came up during phone taps in relation to the inquiry, which was opened last July.
Benzema has denied any wrongdoing.
The appeals court in Versailles also overturned an earlier court decision in favour of former Liverpool and QPR striker Djibril Cisse in relation to the same incident, sending his case back to a judge who may decide to place him under formal investigation.
The public prosecutor had asked for Cisse to be put under formal investigation, but the request had initially been rejected by.
‘It paves the way for Djibril Cisse to be placed under investigation, but it’s not automatic,’ a source said.
Benzema is currently on club duty in Japan with Real Madrid where they are competing in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The 28-year-old striker scored in a 2-0 win over Club America which saw the Champions League holders book their place in the final, where they will face Kashima Antlers of Japan.
Defence lawyer Sylvain Cormier has always protested the player’s innocence, stating in November 2015: “Karim Benzema will show his good faith in this affair – as soon as possible, I hope,” Cormier announced.
“He did not participate in anything he is accused of, no blackmail or extortion. This thing doesn’t make any sense.
“He has been accused and charged by the prosecution. This is not proof of culpability; it’s only the beginning of the affair.”