French strikers Benzema and Ribery and Benzema in sex charges
French football stars are never out of trouble are they? Few weeks after the French National team banned some of their players for indiscipline during the Euro Championships, Real Madrid and French striker Karim Benzema and his International team mate Franck Ribery are to be called before a judge for claims that they solicited an underage prostitute.
The duo have been under investigation for two years now regarding the issue and they both deny that they were aware the girl was 16 at the time and the girl Zahia Dehar affirms the story.
An investigating magistrate has ruled that they should testify but has not yet set a date.
Magistrate Andre Dandot’s decision contradicts the recommendation of Paris prosecutors who said in November 2011 that the case should be closed because the players did not realize she was underage.
The stars if deemed guilty could find themselves in some serious trouble. Under French law, paid sex with someone under the age of 18 can prompt a punishment of three years in jail and a fine of $55,000 this would however be the case if the accused person was aware of the minor’s age.
Sylvain Cormier who represents Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, said his client was innocent “and he will give his explanation before the tribunal”.
Ribery’s attorney Sophie Bottai also defended her client July 2010 on grounds that he too was unaware of Zahia Dehar’s age.
“It is an intentional offence, he would have to know her age, which wasn’t the case,” Sophie Bottai said. She would have to look like a minor, which wasn’t the case; she would have to tell him she was a minor, which wasn’t the case, since all over the press she claimed that she was an adult and that she was more than 20 years old.
Both players were questioned in 2010 at the request of a magistrate who was looking into allegations that a Paris nightclub gave access for underage prostitutes. They were shortly released after the questioning.