A French court on Friday rejected a request by the Real Madrid striker to drop the probe into alleged blackmail over a sex tape featuring France teammate Mathieu Valbuena. The court also recommended charging former Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé.
The court’s ruling threatens to drag Djibril Cissé into the notorious legal dispute involving Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena.
“We are pretty astonished because the decision is to reject our requests for the investigation to be cancelled,” said lawyer Serge Money, who represents another suspect.
The case, which cost Benzema a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad on home soil, is now expected to go to trial next year.
The Versailles appeal court also asked the investigating magistrate to consider charging former Liverpool and Marseille striker Djibril Cissé.
Investigators suspect 28-year-old Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers — including one of his childhood friends — and Lyon midfielder Valbuena.
Benzema and three of the other suspects asked for the case against them to be dropped.
They say police used “dishonest” methods by posing as a friend of Valbuena’s in a telephone conversation with one of the accused.
The prosecution meanwhile says Cissé helped to push along the deception by informing Valbuena that “rumours” were circulating about the existence of the sex tape.
The 35-year-old was arrested as part of the investigation in 2015 but was released without charge.
Cissé said in a TV interview at the time that he had only been arrested “so the investigators could hear my side of the story. I never swindled anyone — Mathieu is a friend”.
Benzema has been usurped as France’s star striker by Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, but national coach Didier Deschamps says he has not ruled out a return to the international fold for the Real forward.
Karim Benzema admitted Sunday that he had no hope of playing at the World Cup next year as long as Didier Deschamps remains as France coach.
“But it’s been over two and a half years, you can’t be stupid. As long as Didier Deschamps is coach I will have no chance of returning to the French team.”
Benzema, who has scored 27 goals for France, last played for the national team in October 2015.
But he has hardly been missed by Deschamps who guided France to the final of Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Benzema’s international career hit the buffers when he became caught up in the now infamous ‘sex tape’ scandal in which he was accused of involvement in an attempt to blackmail fellow French star Mathieu Valbuena.
“Of course, I want to play at the World Cup, I want to win something with my country,” said Benzema who added that he has no relationship whatsoever with Deschamps.
“It’s deadlock. We talked on the phone before the Euros but there was no explanation. After that, he turned his back on me.”