Thursday December 3rd, 2015

France striker Karim Benzema responded Wednesday to the comments teammate Mathieu Valbuena made last week regarding the sex tape blackmail plot Benzema allegedly helped organize against him.

Earlier this month, Benzema was charged with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group for allegedly offering to withhold an “incriminating sex tape” of Valbuena from the public in exchange for money. In a television interview with TF1, Benzema maintained his claim of innocence.

“There’s nothing else to say,” Benzema said, according to the Associated Press. “I’m being accused, dragged through the mud in every direction, like I was a criminal. These are horrible things.

“I don't even know why I was taken into custody, why I was tarnished, why I was made to sleep in custody like a scumbag or I don’t know what. When it was me who asked to be questioned. I wasn’t even summoned for questioning, it was me who asked.”

More officials arrested in FIFA scandal, including CONCACAF head

The investigation began when Valbuena took legal action after he was contacted by the blackmailers. In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde last week, Valbuena recounted how Benzema attempted to convince him to take a meeting with the blackmailers, one of which is believed to be a childhood friend of Benzema.

“There comes a time when you can’t defend the indefensible. I wouldn’t even do that to my worst enemy,” Valbuena said last week, according to the Associated Press. “When I went to the first hearing I couldn’t imagine that Karim was involved in this. I can only feel very, very, very let down and now realize that my relationship with Karim wasn’t as sincere as he may claim.”

If the investigation continues past June 10, when Euro 2016 is set to begin, either Valbuena or Benzema will need to be left off the tournament roster, as Benzema was prohibited from contacting people involved in the case as a provision of his release from jail.

- Erin Flynn

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