The defence had hoped that the investigation against the Real Madrid striker would crumble if this appeal had been upheld
Karim Benzema’s request to be free to make private calls on his phone has been rejected by the Court of Appeal in Versailles, AFP reports.
The Real Madrid striker, 28, remains under investigation with regards an alleged blackmail attempt on France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, 32, and a lawyer involved in the defence for this case had hoped the investigation would crumble if this appeal was upheld.
The case exploded into the public consciousness over a year ago, when Benzema was taken into police custody and charged with conspiracy to blackmail the Lyon midfielder, who initially filed a complaint in June 2015. Benzema was placed under judicial supervision, which means he is prohibited from meeting with Valbuena or any other people charged in the case.
Defence lawyer Sylvain Cormier has always protested the player’s innocence, stating in November 2015: “Karim Benzema will show his good faith in this affair – as soon as possible, I hope,” Cormier announced.
“He did not participate in anything he is accused of, no blackmail or extortion. This thing doesn’t make any sense.
“He has been accused and charged by the prosecution. This is not proof of culpability; it’s only the beginning of the affair.”
While proceedings are ongoing, Benzema’s phone has been tapped by the police, who can listen to his conversations, and the Real Madrid ace, who scored in his side’s Club World Cup semi-final win over Club America on Thursday, had appealed to have this condition revoked.
His appeal, which was based around this method of investigation being inappropriate for his case, has been rejected by the court.
Additionally, the defence had claimed that the behaviour and actions of the detective – also Valbuena’s confidant – who talked to the blackmailers should have been deemed illegal. They argued that it was the officer who initiated some calls and that, at the time, no misdemeanour or violation had been committed. But the Versailles court also refused to give this credit.
Serge Money, the lawyer of Mustapha Zouaoui, who also stands accused in this plot along with Axel Angot, Younes Houass and Karim Zenati, described his “surprise” at the decision of the court. The advocate had previously suggested that if this condition was found to be unsuitable, the whole case would have to be dismissed.
Meanwhile, Djibril Cisse, the veteran France international striker who is currently training with Ligue 2 side Auxerre with a view to returning to the professional game in January, despite having a prosthetic hip, has also been implicated, with the prosecution asking for the former Liverpool man to be placed under investigation again.
The investigation is set to continue over the coming weeks and months, with the possibility of it being drawn to a close over the course of the next year.
Since news of the case broke, neither Benzema nor Valbuena have played for France, with both players missing out on Euro 2016 as a result.