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CRIME

Benzema sextape appeal set for this summer

The appeal of France and Real Madrid footballer Karim Benzema against a one-year suspended sentence for complicity in a bid to blackmail former international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape will be heard in June, a judiciary source has said.

Benzema sextape appeal set for this summer
Real Madrid's French footballer Karim Benzema. (Photo: Gabriel Bouys / AFP)

Benzema was also fined €75,000. The sentence for the 2015 extortion attempt, which led Benzema to be cast out of the France team for five-and-a-half years, was tougher than prosecutors had requested.

Benzema, 34, was not accused of being behind the extortion attempt but rather of conspiring with the suspected blackmailers by putting pressure on Valbuena to pay them off.

The court in Versailles outside Paris ruled that he had “implicated himself personally, through subterfuge and lies, to convince his team-mate to submit to the blackmail”.

It added that he had shown “no kindness towards Valbuena”, as he had claimed, “just the opposite” and had even appeared to take pleasure in his fellow player’s discomfort.

Benzema scored twice in a 3-0 win against Real Mallorca in La Liga on Monday to take his career tally to 412 goals, making him the highest-scoring Frenchman in history with two more than Thierry Henry.

He also scored a quickfire hat-trick to help Madrid defeat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League last week.

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POLITICS

French justice minister faces trial on conflict of interest charge

France's justice minister has been ordered to stand trial in a conflict of interest case that has embarrassed President Emmanuel Macron's government, his lawyers said on Monday.

French justice minister faces trial on conflict of interest charge

His lawyers said they had immediately lodged an appeal to block the move.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, a former star defence lawyer, was last year charged with misusing his position to settle scores with opponents from his legal career, becoming the first sitting French justice minister to be charged in a legal probe.

The accusations relate to administrative inquiries into three judges. The three had ordered police in 2014 to pore through the phone records of dozens of lawyers and magistrates, including Dupond-Moretti, as part of an investigation into former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The judiciary accused Dupond-Moretti of a witch-hunt.

He denied the allegations, saying he was merely acting on the recommendations of his staff to investigate possible mistakes by the magistrates who oversaw the seizures of the phone records.

The order to stand trial was issued by the investigation commission of the Law Court of the Republic in Paris (CJR), which hears cases of alleged wrongdoing by serving ministers.

But his lawyers, Christophe Ingrain and Remi Lorrain, said they had already appealed against the move.

“The order no longer exists,” they told reporters as they exited the CJR building.

Dupond-Moretti was not present.

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