Real Madrid's Benzema to stand trial in sex tape case
FRANCK FIFE / AFP / Getty

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will face trial for his alleged role in blackmailing former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape involving Valbuena, French prosecutors told The Associated Press' Samuel Petrequin on Thursday.

The case dates back to November 2015 and includes a charge of conspiracy to attempt blackmail.

Benzema is accused of putting pressure on Valbuena to pay blackmailers over intimate video that they had threatened to make public. Benzema denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors believe one of Benzema's childhood friends approached him to broker a deal with Valbuena, who played alongside Benzema with the French national team.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet banned Benzema from representing France because of the scandal. The 33-year-old hasn't played for Les Bleus since 2015.

"There's nothing else to say. I'm being accused, dragged through the mud in every direction like I was a criminal," Benzema said in December 2015. "These are horrible things."

Benzema claimed at the time that he only wanted to help Valbuena and let him know that a sex tape existed.

"To then hear that I was involved in blackmail, that I asked him for money, it drives me crazy because it's nothing to do with it," he added. "I don't need money and when I do a favor I expect nothing back."

Benzema missed the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 World Cup, which France won in Russia.

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Real Madrid's Benzema to stand trial in sex tape case
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