Mathieu Valbuena speaks publically for the first time about the sex-tape scandal involving French footballer Karim Benzema. Benzema was arrested in France earlier this month and could face five years in prison.
In an interview French newspaper Le Monde published Friday, Mathieu Valbuena said Karim Benzema told him “indirectly” to pay a ransom to get back a sex-tape of him with his girlfriend.
Benzema, a forward for Spanish giants Real Madrid, was charged with complicity to blackmail Valbuena, his teammate on the French national team, over the tape. Four men, including a friend of Benzema, Karim Zenati, have also been detained and charged, and Benzema could be facing five years in prison if convicted.
Le Monde asked Valbuena if Benzema had urged him to meet with the blackmailers, to which Valbuena said, “Incite, that means ‘you will have to pay' indirectly.”
“He was not aggressive in his manner of talking, he did not talk about money concretely, directly,” Valbuena continued, “but when someone insists that I meet someone ... hmmmm."
“I have never met anyone who is going to destroy a video for free just because they love me! You shouldn't treat people like idiots.”
Valbuena said he did not know of Benzema's involvement in the sex-tape affair until his first police questioning.
Benzema had also asked Valbuena to deny Benzema's involvment in a telephone call before Valbuena's Olympique Lyon faced Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League group stage on October 20.
"He said 'Mat, my name has come out, what is all this chaos. I can't believe in all these affairs.'
"I said to him: 'Listen Karim, its nothing special, you did nothing, there's no worry'. But I told myself it's strange that he wanted me to meet this person," Valbuena said in the interview.
Benzema has since admitted to police he was supposed to be an "intermediary" between Valbuena and one of the blackmailers. The blackmailer was a childhood friend of Benzema.
"When I went to the first (police) questioning I had absolutely no idea that Karim Benzema was involved," Valbuena told Le Monde. "I am very very very disappointed and I can only note that my relations with Karim were not as sincere as he makes out,"