Karim Benzema faces five years in prison, but has far more to lose than a theoretical sentence to which he will probably never be sentenced. Can he get through this legal ordeal while preserving a dearly acquired status in blue? If the Real Madrid striker had not been reconvened by Didier Deschamps, after a long period of absence, the Versailles court would certainly not have had to prepare weeks in advance for an accreditation procedure allowing some 148 journalists from around the world to find a seat to follow the debates.
The trial would then have looked like what it is: yet another news item in the world of football, with its depravities, vices, excesses and follies. The ace. The Benzema trial has, as the French striker’s performances in recent weeks, become a fact of life. The French Football Federation (FFF), civil party, should not take on any role other than that of spectator and will certainly be timid when it comes to estimating the amount of its image damage.
It is a safe bet, finally, that Mathieu Valbuena, the victim, would have preferred that his case be judged at another time – sooner than six years after the facts? – at least not the year when one of the respondents is a candidate for the Golden Ball and acclaimed by a whole country with each of his touches of the ball on the field.
On June 8, 2015, Mathieu Valbuena, midfielder of the France team, lodged a complaint after receiving anonymous threats at Clairefontaine from a blackmailer. The latter claims to have a sextape and demands a large sum of money not to broadcast it. The police then put in place an undercover agent, Luka, who presented himself as Mathieu Valbuena’s intermediary to carry out the negotiations.
Investigative work and wiretapping allow suspects to be named, including Mustapha Zouaoui, Younes Houass and Axel Angot, the latter having previously had access to the cell phone of the former OM midfielder. . Over the weeks, the pressures hardly work, so the thugs will call on two heavyweights: Karim Zenati, childhood friend of Karim Benzema, and Karim Benzema himself.
On the evening of October 6, Benzema had a conversation with his teammate, explaining that he could introduce someone to him to take care of his problem. Valbuena is then not very excited, judging that the video would just make a buzz and that his partner knew about it.
The difficulty at the hearing will be to determine the exact role of Karim Benzema in this case. Did he just want to give friendly advice to his teammate, as he supports him without convincing, or as Mathieu Valbuena and the investigators think, was he an intermediary of the blackmailers, by insisting on the damage that the dissemination of the sextape could have on the footballer, his family and the France team?
For the Court of Cassation, which had to look into the regularity of the investigations and the intervention of the undercover agent, the question is heard: “The fraudulent obtaining of the video recording, the negotiations between the people in charge. cause to find the best way to blackmail Mr. Valbuena, the phone calls […], the meetings fixed in Algiers then in Paris or even the meeting organized by Mr. Benzema in Clairefontaine constitute acts […] accomplished for the sole purpose of obtaining the remittance of funds by Mr. Valbuena. “