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France

Ribery, Benzema sex case charges dropped

Franck Ribéry (L) Karim Benzema (R)
Franck Ribéry (L) Karim Benzema (R) FP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

A Paris court on Thursday dropped the case against French footballers Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, who had both been accused of having sex with an underage prostitute.

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The court also dropped the case against Ribery's brother-in-law, but handed down sentences to five others accused of pimping.

“This matter has caused a huge amount of damage,” said Ribery’s lawyer
Carlo Alberto Brusa, « many people have been hurt. »

« Right from the beginning Karim said he was innocent”, said Karim Benzema’s lawyer Sylvain Cormier. It is the end of a “nightmare”, he added.

The matter hit the headlines just before the 2010 World Cup. Ribéry was accused of having sexual relations with Zahia Dehar in 2009, while she was under age, Benzema was accused of having sex with her in 2008.

30 year old Ribery admitted relations with the girl in Munich in 2009 but denied having paid her 700 euros. The Bayern Munich and France winger maintained during the enquiry that he did not know she was a prostitute.

Although the age of consent is 15 in France, paying for sex with anyone under 18 is a crime but the court heard that Dehar, had lied about her age.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who is 26, denied the girl’s allegations that they had sex in Paris in 2008.

Neither the footballers nor Zahia Dehar appeared at the trial.

She recently launched a career in upmarket lingerie.

The enquiry began after suspicions were raised that prostitution was rife in the Zaman Café, a cabaret near the Champs Elysées, which has since gone into administration.

 

 

 

 

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