Karim Benzema to appeal sex tape affair conviction after receiving one-year suspended jail term
Karim Benzema, the France and Real Madrid striker, has been handed a suspended jail term after being found guilty over the sex tape blackmail plot against a former international team-mate.
A court in Versailles also fined Benzema €75,000 (£63,000) for his part in conspiring to encourage Mathieu Valbuena to pay the gang which had been attempting to extort him.
Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, was not in court and is due to play for his Spanish club against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later.
The case dates back to June 2015, when the two footballers were at a French training camp, and Benzema put pressure on Valbuena to pay off the blackmailers, whom he had conspired with to act as an intermediary, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors had successfully argued that he had encouraged Valbuena to pay the bill to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.
Benzema, 33, was one of five people put on trial last month over a scandal that had stunned the football community in France and led to both players losing their national team places.
Benzema insisted he was only trying to help Valbuena get rid of the compromising video.
He was recalled to the national team after a six-year absence ahead of this past summer's European Championship following an impressive campaign with Madrid that saw him score 24 league goals.
Prior to the verdict, France Football Federation president Noel Le Graet had insisted Benzema "will not be excluded" from the national team, regardless of the court's decision. "The coach will continue to be responsible for the call-ups and Karim Benzema will not be excluded because of a possible judicial punishment," Le Graet said.
Benzema, 33, has scored 38 goals for club and country in 2021. He is also among the candidates to win the Ballon d'Or on November 29.