Karim Benzema may have just seen his sex tape blackmail scandal grow even worse, with a phone call released Thursday that appeared to show the French striker conspiring with a friend to extort money from teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
The call shows the friend reportedly asking Benzema about using the explicit video to blackmail his teammate. The transcript, which was translated to English by Deadspin, appears to present new and strong evidence against the Real Madrid striker. Many believe it could mark the end of Benzema’s career.
The scandal reportedly started with Axel Angot, who the BBC calls “a kind of Mr Fixit for super-rich footballers.” Angot allegedly worked with two others — known in the press as Mustapha Z. and Younes H. — in an attempt to extort Valbuena.
Valbuena then went to police, who took the other men under surveillance. Reports claim the group then approached Karim Zenati, who is a former friend of Benzema and has been convicted of armed robbery and drug dealing. Zenati used his friendship with Benzema to get the message through to Valbuena, reports indicate.
Benzema has been charged with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group.
Karim Benzema has maintained his innocence, saying he was just trying to advise his teammate on how to handle the matter.
“Karim Benzema will show his good faith in this matter as soon as possible,” Sylvain Cormier, Benzema’s lawyer, said Thursday. “He was charged by a judge who notified him that he was a suspect…. It is not a declaration of guilt.”
Now new evidence has been released in the sex tape scandal threatening to end Karim Benzema’s career — and take away his freedom. Transcripts of an apparent phone call between Benzema and a friend, Karim Zenati, appears to show the two conspiring to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena.
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) November 12, 2015
Benzema: I spoke to him about family, I said that it has nothing to do with buzz, we don’t give a s**t, I said to him then. I said to him that now that if someone releases a photo, a video like that. That for me that does absolutely nothing but your mother, your father they will see your woman or I have no idea who. You see, after that he was thinking, thinking. I said to him that in any case he should do what he wants. There, I am with the French national team until Sunday, if you give me your number, I will give it, I will give it to my friend. He will come to see you in Lyon, you will discuss it, you see with him, he did not want to. Well, its your life, but I warned you eh?
Zenati: It is good brother, you have done really well.
Benzema: There you go, I said to him that. After that I do not know what he will do. He will call his agent, he will say that they have the video. I said to him, listen, there is no intermediary, no lawyer, no friend, no agent, no police, its not what you want.
Benzema: I said to him that if you want the video to be destroyed, come see my friend in Lyon. You see him directly and you speak with him, you send nobody.
The sex tape scandal could mean the end of Karim Benzema’s playing career, with most French football writers believing he won’t take the field again. But that has not happened yet — as of Wednesday, Benzema was still practicing with his Real Madrid team.
[Picture by Martin Rose/Getty Images]