4 of Benzema’s co-defendants within the trial had been additionally discovered responsible, with three of them receiving jail sentences.
Tewfik Bouzenoun, lawyer for defendant Younes Houass — who was handed an 18-month suspended sentence — informed CNN that his shopper was “manipulated.”
“He by no means engaged in blackmail or try and blackmail as he by no means requested for cash. He by no means had a monetary request,” Bouzenoun informed CNN in an announcement.
“I believe the verdicts are much less extreme than these requested by the prosecutor, I see leniency and clemency in them.”
CNN is trying to contact the legal professionals of the opposite co-defendants.
Among the many recordsdata transferred from Valbuena’s faulty cellphone in 2014 by Axel Angot was a video containing sexual content material involving Valbuena.
Nearly a 12 months later, Angot, with the help of others, tried to make use of the intercourse tape to blackmail the footballer, in response to an announcement from the Versailles court docket that convicted Benzema.
The lads trying to blackmail Valbuena additionally reached out to a different former French worldwide, Djibril Cisse, who, like Benzema, has performed for a few of Europe’s main golf equipment, in an try and persuade Valbuena to pay.
Nevertheless, Cisse refused to help, in response to the court docket paperwork.
So the blackmailers turned to Benzema, who was a childhood good friend of considered one of them — Karim Zenati — to attempt to persuade Valbuena to pay.
In handing down its judgment, the court docket dominated that Benzema, by means of “falsely presenting himself as a good friend wishing to assist his teammate,” used his skilled stature and lies to persuade Valbuena to “undergo blackmail by paying a sum of cash and to contact for this function his good friend Karim Zenati who was the one one ready to assist him.”
After Wednesday’s verdict, Benzema’s authorized workforce mentioned the Actual Madrid star can be cleared “within the court docket of enchantment.”
“It was clearly introduced by the court docket that Karim Benzema was not conscious of the prior machinations after which in the long run they mentioned that ‘he can not, not have identified,’ with none proof,” considered one of Benzema’s legal professionals, Sylvain Cormier, mentioned exterior the courtroom.
“They’ve condemned him with a really extreme, unjust sentence with out proof. I am fairly shocked by this ruling,” added Cormier.
The court docket assertion mentioned Benzema and Valbuena weren’t pals earlier than this incident. The 33-year-old Actual Madrid star did not even have Valbuena’s cellphone quantity, in response to the court docket.
Benzema lied about his assembly with Mustapha Zouaoui, who the court docket referred to as the mastermind behind the blackmail, when he was first questioned by investigators, the paperwork mentioned. He was doing so to guard Zenati, Benzema’s childhood good friend and worker, in response to the court docket assertion.
Benzema insisted that Valbuena ought to meet with Zenati. The Actual Madrid participant informed Valbuena, who now performs for Greek membership Olympiacos, that the individuals in possession of the tape had been from main crime teams from the southern French metropolis of Marseille and suggested him towards going to the police or his lawyer.
Benzema even swore “on the top of his daughter” to Valbuena that there would not be any copies of the intercourse tape, the court docket findings mentioned.
Valbuena found out “that the aim of the maneuver was to extract a sum of cash from him with a purpose to stop the video from being made public,” the court docket mentioned within the assertion.
The court docket acknowledged that Benzema could not have been conscious of the behind-the-scene maneuvers that had been occurring, however acknowledged that he was personally concerned in utilizing “subterfuge and lies” to “persuade his teammate [Valbuena] to undergo blackmail and to contact for this function his trusted man, on this case Karim Zenati.”
The court docket made this judgement primarily based on the content material of Benzema’s dialogue with Valbuena on October 6, 2015, within the Parisian suburb of Clairefontaine — the location of the French Nationwide Staff’s coaching floor — which he recounted to Zenati instantly afterward.
The recorded phone conversations between Benzema and Zenati, which had been performed on the trial, didn’t show any good will towards Valbuena and “proves the existence of an try and blackmail led by the duo,” the assertion mentioned.
Actual Madrid declined to touch upon the case when requested by CNN.
Valbuena’s lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, additionally declined to touch upon Benzema’s sentence.
In a while Wednesday, Benzema performed and scored in Actual Madrid’s Champions League victory towards Sheriff Tiraspol.