Versailles (AFP)

The French international Karim Benzema is sent to correctional in the case of the blackmail with the sextape of Mathieu Valbuena in 2015 for "complicity in attempted blackmail", announced Thursday the parquet of Versailles to AFP.

The Real Madrid striker is suspected of having incited his ex-teammate in the France team to pay blackmailers who threatened to unveil an intimate video featuring him.

Four other men are also referred in this case for attempted blackmail and one of them for breach of trust as well.

The former international Djibril Cissé was himself removed from prosecution, in accordance with the prosecution's requisitions made at the end of June.

"We are unfortunately not surprised. This is a decision as absurd as predictable," responded Sylvain Cormier, Karim Benzema's lawyer, denouncing a "fierce" against his client.

This referral to the criminal court is, on the other hand, "the logical continuation of the instruction which perfectly established the participation of different people," said Mathieu Valbuena's counsel, Me Paul-Albert Iweins.

While the France team was preparing in October 2015 a friendly match against Armenia in Nice, Karim Benzema had mentioned with Mathieu Valbuena the existence of an intimate video concerning the latter.

For the Real player, it was a simple friendly conversation aimed at warning his partner.

Valbuena speaks on the contrary of an injunction to pay.

For several months now, an anonymous person had been trying to get in touch with him to blackmail him in exchange for this sextape.

Valbuena quickly identified those who were trying to extort money from him: Mustapha Zouaoui and Axel Angot, two men gravitating in the football world in Marseille.

The two men are then wiretapped and the investigators intercept a conversation between them and Karim Zenati, childhood friend of Karim Benzema.

Mr. Zenati assures them that the star striker of the France team will intervene with Valbuena to discuss the existence of this video.

In November 2015, a few months before Euro-2016 organized in France, Benzema and his friend Karim Zenati were taken into police custody and then indicted.

Since then, Karim Benzema has not been recalled to the France team (81 selections) and has continued to proclaim his innocence.

Mathieu Valbuena (52 caps) will never be recalled in Blue either.

Djibril Cissé, ex-international and partner of Valbuena in Marseille, was the first to have informed the current player of Olympiakos of the existence of the video, but claimed to have simply wanted to warn him.

cal-ola-leo-clw / pga / nm

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