Karim Benzema drops appeal over suspended prison sentence for complicity in blackmail

L’Équipe report tonight that Karim Benzema has decided to drop his appeal over the one-year suspended prison sentence he was handed in November over complicity in the blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena.

Six years after the events first broke out and eventually led to Benzema’s exile from the French team, the Real Madrid striker given the one-year suspended sentence as well as a €75,000 fine and €80,000 in compensation to his former international teammate.

A trial was due to take place at the end of the month for the appeal. In November, the judge had ruled that Benzema had “personally involved himself with insistence to try and convince Mathieu Valbuena to meet his trusted man.”

Benzema’s new lawyer Hugues Vigier explains in Saturday’s L’Équipe that “my client is exhausted by these proceedings. This withdrawal ratifies a decision to covict, and apparently one of guilt. That’s the judicial truth. But it’s not the reality. Karim Benzema will always proclaim his innocence in this case and he never wanted to take part in a blackmail operation against Mathieu Valbuena.”

Vigier speaks of a “profound sense of injustice” and “weariness” for his client, with the Real Madrid forward concluding that the new hearing would not change the situation and that “he would not be judged as he should be”.

He concludes: “My client’s final word is this: I know what happened in that meeting I had with Mathieu Valbuena at Clairefontaine. That’s at the heart of what opposes us and I know that I committed no breaches.”

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