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Court gives soccer star Karim Benzema 1-year suspended sentence for sex tape scheme

By Megan Hadley
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Court gives soccer star Karim Benzema 1-year suspended sentence for sex tape scheme
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring during a UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain on November 26, 2019, in Madrid, Spain. File Photo by Rodrigo Jimenez/EPA-EFE

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A French court on Wednesday gave soccer star Karim Benzema a suspended one-year jail sentence for trying to blackmail a teammate with a sex tape several years ago.

The sentence comes after the Real Madrid forward was found guilty of a scheme in 2015 to extort money from teammate Mathieu Valbuena by threatening to use to tape against him.

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The court said Benzema was complicit in the case, which resulted in the soccer star being booted from the France national team.

The court also ordered Benzema to pay a fine of $84,000.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Benzema was a participant in the extortion scheme, which threatened to make public graphic footage that came from Valbuena's smartphone.

Prosecutors said that Benzema had urged Valbuena to pay the blackmail money and informed one of the other plotters that he wasn't taking the threats seriously.

Wednesday's punishment was more severe than the 10-month suspended sentence that prosecutors had asked for.

"They have condemned him with a very severe, unjust sentence without proof. I'm quite shocked by this ruling," said Benzema's attorney Sylvain Cormier, according to CNN.

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Cormier said Benzema will appeal the verdict and the sentence.

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