Karim Benzema denies sex tape blackmail allegations in TV interview
Karim Benzema speaking on French TV channel TF1
France and Real Madrid striker Karim Bezema issues defiant denial over Mathieu Valbuena sex tape blackmail allegations on French television.
France striker Karim Benzema has defiantly denied accusations that he was involved in an extortion plot involving a sex tape featuring France international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
The Real Madrid forward is facing charges of conspiracy to blackmail relating to the alleged plot.
Benzema spoke publicly about the matter for the first time on Tuesday, in an interview that was broadcast on Wednesday on French TV channel TF1.
The former Lyon marksman relayed information about the talk he had with Valbuena, who now plays for Benzema’s hometown club, during an October international get-together.
"I'd heard there was a video out there. I said I'd let him know. But I got the impression he already knew about it.
"I told him I could help him because I have a friend in Lyon [Benzema's childhood friend Karim Zenati] that could deal with the problem.
"We spoke about it. I asked him if he had warned his family. I told him I'd found myself in situations like this in the past and that I'd told the police. He [Valbuena] told me he had told the police about it.
"Then afterwards, when I hear all this talk about extortion, and that I'd demanded money from him – it makes me angry. The idea that I would need money, or my friend would need money – it's ridiculous. I've earned a good living for a long time. I don't need money. We never, never spoke about money."
Asked if he understood why Valbuena has said he is "very disappointed" in him, he replied: "I understand. But that night, he wasn't disappointed. On the contrary. He said to me – and he could tell you this himself – 'thanks, brother, for having warned me.'"
Benzema also hit back at French prime minister Manuel Valls for saying this week that Benzema did not deserve a place in Didier Deschamps' France squad.
"I'm getting accused of all sorts of things. They're dragging my name through the mud as if I was a criminal. It's horrible."
He added: "The only thing I regret in this whole thing is to have laughed about it on the phone with my childhood friend [Zenati]. That's the only thing. I apologise to him [Valbuena] and his family for that. On the phone you act silly; sometimes you laugh about things that may be serious, but you don't take them seriously."