Football Football

Benzema associates in police custody over extorsion bid

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring during a Spanish league game against Celta Vigo. © AFP/File / MIGUEL RIOPA

PARIS, France, Nov 13 Three acquaintances of Real Madrid star Karim Benzema were in French police custody Tuesday over suspected extorsion, sources close to the case confirmed to AFP.

The arrests follow a complaint by a former friend of Benzema, named as Leo D., who alleges he was the victim of an attempted kidnapping by the accused in Paris over a financial dispute with Benzema.

Prosecutors in Paris launched an investigation, leading to arrests on Tuesday.

Investigators said the dispute centred on a sum of 50,000 euros destined for Benzema via a sponsor.

Leo D. was tasked with transferring the cash from Morocco to France but claims he was stopped by customs officials in Morocco, who seized the money.

Benzema was not selected by Didier Deschamps for his World Cup winning squad and has not figured for his country since he was charged for his alleged role in the blackmail of former fellow international Mathieu Valbuena in 2015.

Benzema is awaiting a ruling from a Paris court on whether he has a case to answer in the long-running Valbuena “sex-tape” affair.