Four of Benzema’s co-defendants in the trial had been additionally discovered responsible, with three of them receiving jail sentences.
Tewfik Bouzenoun, lawyer for defendant Younes Houass — who was handed an 18-month suspended sentence — instructed CNN that his consumer was “manipulated.”
“He never engaged in blackmail or attempt to blackmail as he never asked for money. He never had a financial request,” Bouzenoun instructed CNN in an announcement.
“I think the verdicts are less severe than those requested by the prosecutor, I see leniency and clemency in them.”
CNN is making an attempt to contact the legal professionals of the opposite co-defendants.
Among the information transferred from Valbuena’s faulty cellphone in 2014 by Axel Angot was a video containing sexual content material involving Valbuena.
Almost a 12 months later, Angot, with the help of others, tried to make use of the sex tape to blackmail the footballer, in line with an announcement from the Versailles court that convicted Benzema.
The males making an attempt to blackmail Valbuena additionally reached out to a different former French worldwide, Djibril Cisse, who, like Benzema, has performed for a few of Europe’s main golf equipment, in an try to persuade Valbuena to pay.
However, Cisse refused to help, in line with the court paperwork.
So the blackmailers turned to Benzema, who was a childhood good friend of certainly one of them — Karim Zenati — to attempt to persuade Valbuena to pay.
In handing down its judgment, the court dominated that Benzema, by “falsely presenting himself as a friend wishing to help his teammate,” used his skilled stature and lies to persuade Valbuena to “submit to blackmail by paying a sum of money and to contact for this purpose his friend Karim Zenati who was the only one in a position to help him.”
After Wednesday’s verdict, Benzema’s authorized workforce mentioned the Real Madrid star can be cleared “in the court of appeal.”
“It was clearly announced by the court that Karim Benzema was not aware of the prior machinations and then in the end they said that ‘he cannot, not have known,’ without any proof,” certainly one of Benzema’s legal professionals, Sylvain Cormier, mentioned exterior the courtroom.
“They have condemned him with a very severe, unjust sentence without proof. I’m quite shocked by this ruling,” added Cormier.
The court assertion mentioned Benzema and Valbuena weren’t associates earlier than this incident. The 33-year-old Real Madrid star did not even have Valbuena’s cellphone quantity, in line with the court.
Benzema lied about his assembly with Mustapha Zouaoui, who the court referred to as the mastermind behind the blackmail, when he was first questioned by investigators, the paperwork mentioned. He was doing so to guard Zenati, Benzema’s childhood good friend and worker, in line with the court assertion.
Benzema insisted that Valbuena ought to meet with Zenati. The Real Madrid participant instructed Valbuena, who now performs for Greek membership Olympiacos, that the individuals in possession of the tape had been from main crime teams from the southern French metropolis of Marseille and suggested him towards going to the police or his lawyer.
Benzema even swore “on the head of his daughter” to Valbuena that there would not be any copies of the sex tape, the court findings mentioned.
Valbuena found out “that the goal of the maneuver was to extract a sum of money from him in order to prevent the video from being made public,” the court mentioned in the assertion.
The court acknowledged that Benzema might not have been conscious of the behind-the-scene maneuvers that had been occurring, however acknowledged that he was personally concerned in utilizing “subterfuge and lies” to “convince his teammate [Valbuena] to submit to blackmail and to contact for this purpose his trusted man, in this case Karim Zenati.”
The court made this judgement primarily based on the content material of Benzema’s dialogue with Valbuena on October 6, 2015, in the Parisian suburb of Clairefontaine — the location of the French National Team’s coaching floor — which he recounted to Zenati instantly afterward.
The recorded phone conversations between Benzema and Zenati, which had been performed on the trial, didn’t reveal any good will towards Valbuena and “proves the existence of an attempt to blackmail led by the duo,” the assertion mentioned.
The French Football Federation mentioned it had no assertion on the case when requested by CNN however its president, Noël Le Graët, clarified that Benzema is “still a player for the France team. This decision doesn’t change anything for us.”
Real Madrid declined to touch upon the case when requested by CNN.
Valbuena’s lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, additionally declined to touch upon Benzema’s sentence.
Later on Wednesday, Benzema performed and scored in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory towards Sheriff Tiraspol.