Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has admitted he hasn’t watched Mathieu Valbuena’s sex tape, despite telling the Olympic Lyonnais attacker that he had.
Benzema has been under investigation by the French police since last November, under suspicion of attempting to blackmail his French international teammate.
The striker is thought to have become involved “at the request of a childhood friend who was approached by three blackmailers in possession of the sex tape”.
Benzema first approached Valbuena about the tape during a national team training camp. Benzema was then recorded giving an account of the encounter to another suspect, Karim Zenati.
“I was showing off, I was acting…It’s like when you describe a movie you have not seen. I have never seen that video.”
In it, Benzema told Valbuena: “I said to him, ‘Honestly, I have seen it, the video’” and that the diminutive Frenchman was clearly identifiable, adding: “After that we spoke, and spoke. In the video, you see my tattoos.You see everything, in short. I said that to him.”
Police then posed as friends of Valbuena and arrested three blackmailers who allegedly incriminated themselves to the undercover officers.
Benzema has now revealed that he lied to his teammate.
“I should have told him I had not seen it,” Benzema told the judge at a hearing into the case.
“I was showing off, I was acting. It’s like when you describe a movie you haven’t seen. I have never seen that video.”
Valbuena had been quoted as telling a separate judge last year: “Benzema told me he had seen it, he swore on his daughter’s life, telling me it was hot.”
Benzema could be charged with blackmail and, if found guilty, may face up to five years in prison.
The striker was cleared of all charges in a 2014 underage sex trial in which his co-dependent was French international Franck Ribery. The pair were released when there was insufficient evidence to suggest that they knew prostitute Zahia Dehar was under 18.