A football star in the courtroom: Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema finds himself in court from Wednesday, October 20, in "the sextape affair".

The 33-year-old will be tried for three days at the Versailles Criminal Court with four other defendants for their participation in this case, the victim of which is the former teammate of Benzema in selection, Mathieu Valbuena.

Will he be present at the hearing the day after a Champions League match in Ukraine?

Contacted by AFP, Benzema's lawyers did not respond.

Valbuena, who wears the colors of Olympiakos Piraeus (Greece), will be present at the trial, confirmed his lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins.

During the investigation, Benzema's defense had called for a confrontation between the two protagonists, a request rejected by the examining magistrate.

In this case, it's all about interpretation.

Benzema pleads friendly advice to Valbuena while the latter sees it as tortious pressure.

Contradictory statements 

On the evening of October 6, 2015, Benzema went to see Valbuena in her room during a rally for the Blues at the Clairefontaine training center (Yvelines).

He explains to his teammate that he can "present someone he can trust", according to the referral order consulted by AFP, to help him "manage" the possible publication of a compromising video.

"Attention Math, they are big, big thugs", warns the Madrid player.

A way to "help" his teammate he later explained, while Valbuena confessed, he had "the impression of being taken for an idiot".

After this conservation, Benzema calls his childhood friend Karim Zenati, an intermediary of the alleged blackmailers, and explains to him: "he does not take us seriously".

An "us" which, according to the prosecution, shows that Benzema "includes" in the blackmail enterprise.

On the phone, the two men, tapped, mock Valbuena, Benzema predicting that he will "be thrown tomatoes" if the video is published.

"They are going to piss on him", answers Benzema who, in another conversation with his friend will qualify his teammate of "tarlouze".

A qualifier "friendly", he explained later.

Karim Zenati, "in no way lent his support, in conscience, to an offense of blackmail", explains to AFP his lawyer Emmanuel Mercinier, who hopes that "the court will ignore the celebrity of the protagonists and the agitation media that follows ".

The maximum penalty - theoretically - incurred by the former glory of Olympique Lyonnais, prosecuted for complicity in attempted blackmail, is five years' imprisonment and a fine of 70,000 euros.

Four other defendants

At his side on the dock, four other men are accused of attempted blackmail.

One of them, Axel Angot, is also being prosecuted for breach of trust.

It is with this man, who gravitates in the middle of Marseille football that everything starts.

In 2014, Valbuena gave him his phone to transfer his data to a new device.

Axel Angot then comes across a video of a sexual nature of the midfielder, spent at Olympique de Marseille and Lyon.

With a friend, Mustapha Zouaoui, he intends to put pressure on Valbuena to monetize the non-broadcast of the video.

The two men go through the former international Djibril Cissé, who refuses to put them in contact with Valbuena and warns the latter of the existence of the sextape.

They then ask Younes Houass, who knows the world of football well, to intervene.

It is he who contacts Valbuena before being put in touch with "Luka", an undercover policeman who acts as an intermediary for the complainant.

Then follows, according to one of the lawyers in the case, a "dialogue of the deaf" between the two, Younes Houass not making any request for money and not even in possession of the sextape.

Several times it is "Luka" who revives Houass, which, according to the defense, is a provocation to the offense.

An argument that will ultimately be invalidated, after long legal twists and turns, by the Court of Cassation.

Faced with the Houass-Luka impasse, the alleged blackmailers, "real nickel-plated feet", still according to a lawyer in the case, then dismiss Younes Houass from their project and contact Karim Zenati, Benzema's childhood friend.

The latter then comes into play, which is now worth him to appear in court.

With AFP

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Keywords: karim benzema, mathieu valbuena, court, sextape affair, men, football star, victim, case, blackmail, defendants, team, sextape, trial, paul-albert iweins., justice