One of the best footballers in the world, Karim Benzema has been sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a €75,000 fine by a French court.
This is due to his part in a 2015 sex-tape blackmail scandal. Benzema was accused of acting as a middleman for a group of men who wanted to blackmail the striker’s France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, after obtaining a sex tape with him in it.
Prosecutors said Benzema attempted to pressure Valbuena into paying the bribe on the group’s behalf.
He reportedly makes €275,000 a week and has been absent from court due to ‘sporting commitments’. Benzema denied any wrongdoing and his lawyers have called the verdict “unfair and based on no proof”.
One of the men found guilty alongside Benzema, Karim Zenati, is a childhood friend of the star and the pair were recorded discussing Valbuena’s reaction to the extortion attempt.
Despite being Valbuena’s friend, the court found Benzema showed ‘no kindness’ to him and ‘very much to the contrary’ had acted ‘with a certain excitement, even jubilation’ when trying to commit blackmail.
What is a suspended sentence?
A suspended sentence is given after being convicted of a criminal offence.
As the sentence is suspended, it allows the defendant to undergo a probation period, during which, if the guilty party does not break the law and adheres to certain conditions, the sentence may be dismissed and the individual does not go to jail.
If the defendant breaks their probation or commits another offence, they may be court ordered to serve the sentence.
Suspended sentences are not given to those who pose an immediate risk to the general public.
In 2017, just five percent of convictions in the UK resulted in a suspended sentence.