L’Equipe have published a transcript of a conversation between Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and a childhood friend that is set to form part of the case against him in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape blackmail investigation.
Benzema has been charged with conspiring to commit a criminal act and complicity to blackmail – offences which carry a prison sentence of a minimum of five years under French law – over allegations that Lyon midfielder and international team-mate Valbuena was being held to ransom over an intimate video.
Details of a call between Benzema and Karim Zenati, a childhood friend who was allegedly acting as a go-between for blackmailers, were originally leaked to the French press on Tuesday with radio station Europe 1 reporting some extracts of the conversation. Benzema is reported to have explained to Zenati how he told Valbuena: “If you want the video to be destroyed, my friend will come to see you in Lyon. Speak to him. You can see everything. As far as I am concerned you can do as you wish. If you don’t want to, it’s your life, I warned you.” Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, hit out at the leaks and claimed “snippets of conversation [were] carefully selected to be shown to the public.” But now L’Equipe has published a lengthier transcript on its website.
What did Benzema say?
You’ll have to go to L’Equipe’s website for the full transcript. But as well as the extract above, L’Equipe reveals Benzema told his friend that Valbuena thought it was a joke, adding: “I don’t think he is taking us seriously.” Benzema explained it was not a joke. “I told him: ‘I can help you out. You have to see this guy. You have my word that there are no more copies.'”
Benzema also said: “He turned white … I saw him swallow. He began to swallow two, three times.” As Valbuena started to panic, Benzema said: “You can do whatever you want. Okay, If you don’t want to pay, it’s your life but I have warned you.”