Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema faces trial in sex tape scandal

A Real Madrid striker is facing a potential date in court after allegedly trying to blackmail his former teammate over a sex tape, according to reports.

Five years after the alleged incident, prosecutors in France are seeking a trial for Karim Benzema, the former French national team forward. He is at the center of allegations by French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, who claimed he was the victim of an attempted extortion regarding the sex tape — and that Benzema allegedly encouraged him to pay the blackmailers so that the tape would not become public.

“It’s no surprise at all,” Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, told ESPN. “The State Prosecutor has been really involved in this matter, that’s clear, and we were expecting a trial to be requested, although the accusations are not based in reality.”

The conversation between Benzema and Valbuena allegedly took place in October 2015 when the duo was preparing for France’s friendly match against Armenia in Nice, according to the French news agency AFP. The nature of the conversation is in question.

Benzema reportedly claims it was a friendly talk in which he warned his teammate that the tape existed. But prosecutors allege that Benzema was serving as an intermediary between the group of blackmailers and Valbuena.

Since the incident unfolded, Benzema has been left off the French team for the Euro 2016 tournament and the 2018 World Cup, in which France beat Croatia for the title.