The first day of the “sextape affair” trial was marked by the testimony of the victim, footballer Mathieu Valbuena, who said he was “afraid for his career” when Karim Benzema came to see him claiming the help get rid of this intimate video problem.
“Afraid”, “upset”, “in danger”: on the first day of the trial of the “sextape affair” Wednesday, October 20, footballer Mathieu Valbuena described at length how he had received the blackmail attempt which he claims to have was the victim, in the absence of the main defendant, Karim Benzema.
“It’s been six years that we have had this case, everyone is there or almost, Karim is missing”, regretted Mathieu Valbuena in front of the press, before evoking at the bar their famous conversation of October 6, 2015 at the center of training of the French team in Clairefontaine.
That evening, the two players exchange for less than half an hour in the room of the Real Madrid striker. The complainant said he came out “scared” and “upset” from this conversation. Karim Benzema, who had been commissioned by an intermediary of the alleged blackmailers, was “insisting on making me meet someone”, specifies Mathieu Valbuena, 37 years old.
“I was afraid for my sports career”
His teammate in selection was not aggressive and did not mention money, admits the complainant, who however adds that “when we solve a problem like that (…) it is not in exchange for places of soccer”.
“We are a teammate in the France team, it’s the Holy Grail for footballers, I never thought we could have come to this,” he regrets. “I was afraid for my sports career, for the France team. I knew that if the video came out, it would be complicated for me in the France team, as we saw later”, continues the midfielder who now plays for Olympiakos, Greece.
A feeling that Karim Benzema could not respond to at the hearing. His lawyer, Antoine Vey, explained the absence of the star striker of Real Madrid, candidate for the Golden Ball, for “professional” reasons: the 33-year-old player, who theoretically incurs 5 years in prison and 75,000 euros fine, played a match in Ukraine on Tuesday evening and must prepare for the “Clasico” against FC Barcelona on Sunday.
“I hope that the court will draw the consequences”, of this absence, launched the lawyer of the plaintiff, Me Paul-Albert Iweins.
At the helm, Mathieu Valbuena traces the thread of this somewhat nebulous story. It was Djibril Cissé, his former teammate in Marseille, who was the first to talk to him about this intimate video, giving him a precise description after watching an excerpt.
“I felt in danger, my first instinct was to file a complaint,” explains Mathieu Valbuena, who specifies that he never had “the idea of paying”.
On the other side of the bar, the accused defend themselves from any blackmail. Axel Angot, who found the coveted video when Mathieu Valbuena gave him his phone, before copying it to his computer, underlines “not having heard of money”.
He explains that he wanted to help, even for free, hoping that the player will return the elevator to him one day. He hardly recognized lip service that this business was “indirectly the same as blackmail”.
His friend Mustapha Zouaoui, considered to be the other “brain” of this affair, admits that Axel Angot “would not have said no” if Valbuena had been generous.
“We didn’t want to bleed him, we didn’t want her to release this video,” he promised.
“I am not mother Teresa”
Younes Houass, whom Axel Angot and Mustapha Zouaoui had contacted to act as an intermediary in their company, comes forward in turn.
This man who gravitated in the world of football, the only one except Karim Benzema to have spoken directly to Mathieu Valbuena during this affair, recalls not having asked for money when the two men exchanged on the phone.
“I advised him to turn to a man of confidence, someone who can have a cool head in this kind of situation,” he told the court.
“Stop pretending that you are mother Teresa, you are interested in money”, interrupts the president of the court, Christophe Morvan.
“I am not Mother Teresa”, admits the person concerned.
Noting that Younes Houass, who had been put in contact by Mathieu Valbuena with an undercover policeman, “skated” in his negotiations, in the words of the president of the court, Axel Angot and Mustapha Zouaoui then had “the bright idea” of turn to Karim Zenati, childhood friend of Benzema.
The latter then enters the dance at Clairefontaine. Since this affair, Mathieu Valbuena has not been called up for the Blues, unlike the Real Madrid striker. Karim Benzema stayed away for more than five years before making a surprise comeback before the Euro in June.