Thursday 5th November 2015:
The “childhood friend” of Karim Benzema’s mentioned earlier today in the live feed as been charged with blackmail and association with conspirators.
Karim Benzema has returned to Madrid after the judge decided not to take custody of the Real Madrid player’s passport.
The individual who has been described in this case as “the childhood friend” of Karim Benzema who is understood have first got the Real Madrid man involved in the blackmailing of Mathieu Valbuena is currently in front of the judge in Versailles, according to iTélé.
Karim Benzema’s situation, hinges on whether or not he was bluffing in the telephone conversation that we reported on last hour. A lot will come down to Mathieu Valbuena’s testimony, if he is asked to give any.
M6 have some damaging reports just breaking now on the saga. They claim that prosecutors have listened to a telephone conversation where Karim Benzema explained that he was certain that Mathieu Valbuena was going to given in to blackmail, according to a source close to the situation.
During this telephone conversation, between Karim Benzema and an individual whose connection to the case is unclear, the Real Madrid striker is alleged to have said the following:
“Do not worry. He has no choice. I’ll make him understand. He’ll pay.”
Back to the Valbuena-blackmail-sextape scandal. At the time of writing, Karim Benzema’s lawyer is current working to get a reduced judicial supervision for his client, without which, Benzema cannot leave France, according to RMC.
Due to the fact that the player can legally be considered a “person of interest” for the wider population, the chances of Benzema getting a this reduced supervision is very likely, unless the charges, of which the court has not confirmed in great detail, are very serious.
On the other hand, Benzema’s career is clearly threatened by these charges. The judge has the right to take away his passport to prevent him from leaving France of prevent him from going to certain countries (which do not have extradition treaties with France) for example.
Karim Benzema’s sponsors might also reconsider their affiliation with the French international with the current situation in mind. If Benzema remains under investigation, he will have to face trial.
At the moment, there are allegations which the court has decided carry enough weight on charges of extortion and complicity in attempted blackmail.
Reports coming from Le Point that Karim Benzema could be involved in an entirely separate scandal concerning the trafficking of cocaine, in one of the largest drug trafficking scandals France has even seen, nicknamed in the French press at the moment as Air Cocaine. More to follow.
Le Point have revealed that the number one suspect in the Air Cocaine case, an individual who is accused of having paid for and sponsored transatlantic flights to the Dominican Republic and Ecuador from France, was identified through his links with Karim Benzema.
The judge in charge of the case Christine Ruellan-Saunier has struggled so far to understand who had the financial capacity to pay for several transatlantic flights costing hundreds of thousands of euros. Who could have access to 700kg of drugs in the Andean market to then allow for them to flow to Europe making millions of euros in the process?
The alleged organisers of the flights, Frank Colin, and Nicolas Pisapia, a passenger who was arrested in Punta Cana in March 2013, have both always claimed that the real mastermind behind these transatlantic flights was a man known as “Daryan” or “Rayan”, a football agent and a big football fan.
It was allegedly he who paid for the use of these airliners. According to several people who met this individual, who have now testified before the investigators, “Rayan” appeared to live in Spain or Italy, each time in close proximity to Karim Benzema. Frank Colin has never revealed the true identity of “Rayan”, perhaps because he simply does not know, or perhaps out of fear.
The police have begun to cooperate with their partners in Spain to track down this “Rayan” character who is apparently not very discreet, known to drive around the streets of Marbella in a red Bentley convertible.
In the meantime, on 16th October 2014 in Cartagena, eight people were arrested while unloading 400kg of cocaine in a warehouse. One of the individuals involved in this particular find was Ali Bouchareb, 43. When police raided this individual’s house, they found several photos of the individual with Karim Benzema and even autographed shoes from the Real Madrid man.
Ali Bouchareb is also a suspect in the Air Cocaine case and is said to be close to Karim Benzema.
The player’s agent, Karim Djaziri responded to these allegations: “I am not aware of this story and have never heard of a member of Karim Benzema’s entourage being improsined in Spain for drug trafficking. You know, Karim has 20 million fans on Facebook. Any madman can take selfies with him several times. It does not mean they are related.”
Mathieu Valbuena was present at Lyon’s training centre at Tola Vologe today, but clearly disturbed by the developments surrounding his blackmail case, he did not take to the training field with the rest of his team-mates. He arrived at 11:10 CET and left two hours later without stopping in front of the media. His eyes were hidden behind sunglasses and he had a mobile phone stuck to his ear, according to Le Progrès.
Karim Benzema has been charged with complicity in attempted blackmail by French prosecutors and participating in a criminal group. He is also forbidden to meet with Mathieu Valbuena and has been placed under judicial supervision.
His lawyer has reacted:
“Karim Benzema is with all his heart with his friend Mathieu Valbuena. Karim Benzema has acknowledged nothing at all. He proclaims his innocence.”
Mathieu Valbuena has changed his profile picture on social media site Facebook to a picture of him and Karim Benzema, according to RMC! Is this some sign of support?
Mathieu Valbuena has cancelled a scheduled appearance that he was supposed to make on Lyon’s official news channel this afternoon, according to L’Équipe. Unclear whether or not this is in relation to the case.
Karim Benzema’s “childhood friend” who has been mentioned a lot on this live feed, will also be put in front of a judge today, according to iTélé.
Sylvain Cormier, Karim Benzema’s lawyer, has denied that his client has admitted to being involved in the blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena, speaking to France Bleu and RTL.
If Karim Benzema is charged with blackmail, the in accordance with article 310 – section 10 of the Penal Code, the maximum punishment Benzema could face if found guilty is 5 years in jail and a fine of €75,000.
According to official sources at the Versailles precinct, it is now up to the judge to decide whether or not Benzema will be temporarily detained, whether or not he will be put on trial or whether he will be handed the status of “assisted witness”.
If Benzema is place under judicial review, he then obviously cannot be part of France’s squad which meets on Monday. It is understood that Deschamps has already decided not to call the player up anyway.
The prosecution on this case has demanded that Karim Benzema be charged for his role in the crime and they have demanded that he be placed under judicial review, meaning he would be temporarily detained whilst awaiting trial.
Karim Benzema said that he agreed and wanted to help his childhood friend on how to approach Valbuena so that he might exclusively negotiate with the Lyon player, without thinking that he was wronging Mathieu Valbuena in this situation.
Karim Benzema has admitted to playing a role in the blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena involving a sextape. He explained to the court judge that he intervened in the situation “at the request of a childhood friend who had been approached by three crooks who had in their possession a sextape”, this, according to the AFP.
Karim Benzema has been brought before a judge this morning in the Versailles courthouse, where a judge must decide what role the Real Madrid striker played in the alleged blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena involving a sextape. Karim Benzema allegedly had a face-to-face with Valbuena on October the 5th during international duty and the question is whether or not Benzema threatened Valbuena to pay the money that the three principal blackmailers were demanding. If he did so, rather than just merely give Valbuena advice about the situation, the judge can find Benzema to be complicit in the crime.
Wednesday 4th November 2015:
According to a source close to Karim Benzema speaking to Le Parisien, the Real Madrid striker’s camp is genuinely worried about Benzema’s future in a France shirt, with claims that Valbuena and Benzema can no longer play with each other. Karim Benzema will not be called up to Didier Deschamps’ France squad tomorrow for friendlies against Germany and England.
According to France Télévisions and iTélé, Karim Benzema will spend the night in police custody after failing to convince investigators today that he is entirely not involved in this alleged blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena. He is set to be put before a judge on Thursday morning.
Cormier has now spoken to the AFP, declaring that Benzema “played no part” in the alleged blackmail.
Sylvain Cormier, Karim Benzema’s lawyer, spoke to Le Parisien regarding the matter:
“As soon as Karim Benzema’s name was implicated in this situation, we immediately wrote to the investigators that my client was absolutely ready to answer their questions. It is therefore totally natural that he accepted the request that was given to him.”
Karim Benzema was taken into police custody this morning in the precinct of Versailles in Paris concerning the blackmail-sextape affair surrounding Mathieu Valbuena.
Karim Benzema arrived at the judiciary police offices just before 09:00 CET, before being taken into police custody.
Up until now, three people have been placed in preliminary prison in this blackmail case.
The attempted blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena is believed to have been orchestrated by a certain individual named “Axel”, a 39 year old who regularly had dealings with football agents close to Marseille. This Axel is alleged to have come into possession of an old mobile phone of Mathieu Valbuena’s where he discovered an intimate video of the player with a young lady.
With two alleged accomplices, he then tried to get the French international to pay 150,000 Euros for the tape, or else Axel would release the footage on the internet.
So where does Karim Benzema fit in all of this? The Real Madrid man was first made aware of the video when an individual close to Benzema was contacted by one of the alleged blackmailers. Apparently, they were looking to involve Karim Benzema somehow in their blackmail scheme.
Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena had a face-to-face conversation about the incident on the 5th October whilst doing their duty for the French national team, according to Le Parisien.
One source contacted about their conversation suggests that Benzema put pressure on Valbuena to pay up, a second source says that Benzema advised Valbuena in a friendly manner to pay the blackmailers so that the Lyon player could be done with the entire situation.
Benzema has been taken into police custody today in order for the judicial police to assess whether or not the Real Madrid man threatened Mathieu Valbuena during this conversation.
Djibril Cissé was recently taken into police custody regarding the matter, but was released within a day without charges.