Karim Benzema, one of the best footballers in the world, was sentenced by a French court to one year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 75,000 euros.
This is due to his involvement in a sex tape blackmail scandal in 2015. Benzema has been accused of acting as a middleman for a group of men who tried to blackmail striker Mathieu Valbuena’s French teammate after receiving a sextape with him.
Prosecutors said Benzema tried to pressure Valbuena to pay the bribe on behalf of the group.
The Versailles court found Benzema, a Real Madrid star, guilty of complicity in attempted extortion on November 24, 2021.
He reportedly earns € 275,000 a week and has not been to court for “sporting commitments”. Benzema denied any wrongdoing and his lawyers called the verdict “unfair and without evidence”.
One of the men found guilty alongside Benzema, Karim Zenati, is a childhood friend of the star and the two were taped while discussing Valbuena’s reaction to the blackmail attempt.
Despite being Valbuena’s friend, the court found that Benzema “showed no kindness” towards him and “on the contrary” acted “with some excitement, even cheer” when attempting extortion.
What is a suspended sentence?
A suspended sentence is imposed upon conviction of a criminal offense.
Because the sentence is suspended, the defendant can go through a probation period during which the sentence can be overturned and the person will not go to jail if the culprit does not break the law and abide by certain conditions.
If the defendant breaks his probation period or commits another crime, the court can order him to serve the sentence.
Suspected sentences are not imposed on anyone who poses an imminent danger to the general public.
In 2017, only five percent of convictions in the UK resulted in suspended sentences.