A transcript of a phone call implicating French striker Karim Benzema in a blackmail sting involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena was released by French radio Europe 1 on Monday.
The call is between Benzema and a friend who reportedly approached Benzema about blackmailing Valbuena with a sex tape.
The transcript, which was later translated to English by Deadspin, depicts a conversation that validates the Real Madrid player’s involvement in extortion efforts against Valbuena, for which he was charged last week with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group.
During the call, Benzema discusses a prior conversation with Valbuena about withholding an “incriminating sex tape” from the public in exchange for money.
“I spoke to him about his family, I said that nothing can be done about rumours, that I don’t give a s--- [about them], I went on to say to him. I said to him that now if someone releases a photo, a video like that. That for me that’s absolutely nothing but your mother, your father are going to see your wife or I don’t know who. Look, after that he was thinking, thinking. I said to him that in any case he should do whatever he wants. I’m with the French national team until Sunday, if you give me your number, I’ll give it to him, I’ll give it to my friend. He will come and see you in Lyon, you’ll discuss it with him, though he didn’t want to. Well, it’s your life, but I’ve warned you, eh?”
Following the release of the transcript, Benzema’s lawyer took legal action against the radio station, as it reportedly violated the confidentiality of the investigation.
Benzema was arrested on Nov. 4 and remained in custody overnight. A Versailles judge handed down the charges on Thursday morning, and permitted Benzema to go free while further investigation is conducted.
Benzema has denied any wrongdoing, and has been placed under judicial supervision during the investigation.
Read the full transcript here.
- Kayla Lombardo