Karim Benzema is found GUILTY in his sex-tape blackmail case involving fellow footballer Mathieu Valbuena… with the Real Madrid star given a one-year suspended prison sentence and £63,000 fine

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  • Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been found guilty in his blackmail case
  • He was accused of complicity in the attempted blackmail of Matthew Valbuena
  • The forward was given a one-year suspended sentence and fined £63,000

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Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been found guilty of conspiring to blackmail his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape that rocked French football.

The striker was handed a one-year suspended sentence by a judge this morning and a fine of €75,000 (£63,000), a harsher sentence than what prosecutors sought.

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The France international was one of five people at trial in Versailles, near Paris, in an attempted extortion over sexually explicit video stolen from Valbuena’s phone in 2015.

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Benzema claimed that he was only trying to help his teammate when he approached her in October 2015 about a sex tape at the French team’s training center and told him he would ‘manage’ the issue of the video. Might help him find someone to do it.

When the trial ended last month, prosecutors demanded Benzema, who was not present during the court proceedings, be given a suspended sentence of 10 months and a fine of €75,000.

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema (pictured) has been found guilty of collusion in an attempt to blackmail teammate Matthew Valbuena

Investigators allege that Benzema (right) encouraged Valbuena (left) to pay a group of alleged blackmailers to keep an explicit sex tape out of the public eye.

Investigators allege that Benzema (right) encouraged Valbuena (left) to pay a group of alleged blackmailers to keep an explicit sex tape out of the public eye.

The former Lyon striker could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a €90,000 (£75,000) fine.

Benzema’s lawyer said the player would appeal the 74-page decision.

The judge said: ‘Benzema was not aware of the exact maneuver, but the content of his conversation with Valbuena at Clarefontaine suggests that he was personally involved in the deceit.

Benzema, who had denied any wrongdoing, did not remain in court throughout the proceedings.

He is due to play for the Spanish club against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol later in the day.

The court’s decision is unlikely to affect Benzema’s immediate sporting future.

The forward is considered one of the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or award in Paris on 29 November after an impressive season with Madrid.

Lawyer Antoine Way later told reporters, “This result in no way corresponds to the reality of events.”

Valbuena (pictured right outside the courts last month) said the case - which kept him and Benzema out of the national team - had left him feeling 'terrified' and fearful for his career.

Valbuena (pictured right outside the courts last month) said the case – which kept him and Benzema out of the national team – had left him feeling ‘terrified’ and fearful for his career.

Benzema's lawyer, Antoine Way, is pictured in the court of Versailles on Wednesday morning

Benzema’s lawyer, Antoine Way, is pictured in the court of Versailles on Wednesday morning

The judge said that Benzema's motive was not money, but his unbreakable bond with his childhood friend Karim Jenati (pictured).

The judge said that Benzema’s motive was not money, but his unbreakable bond with his childhood friend Karim Jenati (pictured).

Real Madrid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Four other defendants, including one of Benzema’s childhood friends, were also found guilty and did not appear in court on Wednesday.

He was given various sentences ranging from a suspended sentence of 18 months to two and a half years in prison.

French FA president Nol Le Graet recently said the test results would have no effect on Benzema’s chances of playing for the French national team.

Testifying on the first day of the trial, Valbuena said the case – which had left him and Benzema out of the national team – had left him feeling ‘intimidated’ and fearful for his career.

The judge said that Benzema’s motive was not money but his unbreakable bond with Zenati.

The expected profit from the blackmail plot was €150,000.

In a wiretapped conversation, Benzema told his friend Zenatti, who was accused of acting as a middleman for suspected blackmailers, that ‘he is not taking us seriously’.

Benzema (pictured in training Tuesday) was on trial in France in 2015 in an attempted extortion over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena's phone

Benzema (pictured in training Tuesday) was on trial in France in 2015 in an attempted extortion over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena’s phone

Prosecutors said this showed Benzema was complicit, but his lawyer said the exchange showed the footballer was “not an example of total remorse” during the conversation.

We told the court, “We never said he was kind… but it’s not a criminal offence.”

In an interview with investigators in 2015, Benzema denied involvement, asking why he would be involved.

‘I have enough money. I don’t need it,’ he said.

Following initial allegations in November 2015, Benzema was dropped from the France national team by coach Didier Deschamps.

This resulted in Benzema missing the 2016 European Championship, and also the 2018 World Cup which was won by France.

Deschamps recalled Benzema ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament and has fielded him regularly since then.

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