French international striker allegedly spoke to team-mate Matthieu Valbuena on behalf of a childhood friend.

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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been charged in an extortion case involving a sex tape featuring fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena, the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.

Benzema was also placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot liaise with the victim or other people charged in the case.

Police are investigating what part he played in an alleged attempt to extort money from fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena.

A source told AFP news agency that he had admitted involvement.

The 27-year-old star told investigators he had approached Mr Valbuena about the tape on behalf of “a childhood friend,” the report said.

According to French media, Benzema mentioned the tape to Valbuena during a national team training session at Clairefontaine in early October, on behalf of “a childhood friend”.

A source close to the case told AFP: “Karim Benzema has recognised that he intervened with Valbuena at the request of a childhood friend approached by three crooks who had a sex tape in their possession.

“He said that he agreed with a childhood friend about what he would say in order that his team-mate would negotiate exclusively with him.”

His lawyer had said Wednesday that Benzema was not involved in the blackmail plot and was keen to clear his name.

“Karim Benzema has absolutely nothing to hide,” said Sylvain Cormier.

“He is happy, satisfied even, to finally put an end to this tiresome controversy.”

The scandal also saw former France striker Djibril Cisse taken into custody last month. Cisse was released after being questioned by police but Benzema was referred to the investigating judge in the Versailles courthouse.

“Karim Benzema was taken to the courthouse to be brought before a judge who will decide later on in the procedure,” said a public prosecutor. “The judge will decide at the end of this presentation the status of Karim Benzema in the procedure, particularly his possible indictment or his placement under the status of assisted witness.”

When a person is placed under formal investigation in France, the evidence is then examined by a judge, who determines whether the suspect should be charged.