Home > Football > Ribery and Benzema questioned over prostitution ring

Ribery and Benzema questioned over prostitution ring

The (now legal) cause of all the fuss, Zahia Dehar.

French football stars Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema were placed under judicial investigation on Tuesday on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute, the Paris public prosecutor’s office said.

In the latest scandal to engulf football, French internationals Ribéry (Bayern Munich) and Benzema (Real Madrid) were questioned for several hours at a Paris office today. While both men have stated they have done nothing wrong, Ribéry was charged with soliciting an under-age prostitute today with Benzema waiting to discover whether he has similar charges to follow.

While a potential fine of €45,000 is a pittance to either star, conviction on the charge could lead to up to three years in prison if convicted.

Ribéry, who is married and has two children, has admitted having sex with Dehar, but insists he was unaware of her age. Former sex worker, Zahia Dehar, claims she was solicited separately by the players when she was 16. According to the testimony of Dehar and Ribéry, the former sex worker, who is now 18, never told her clients she was underage. However police are investigating whether Ribery paid for Dehar to fly to Bavaria for his 26th birthday celebrations, and thus whether he would have known of her age.

Bayern Munich and France star Franck Ribery

While prostitution is not illegal in France, paid sex with someone under 18 is deemed sex with a minor.

Ribery’s lawyer Sophie Bottai said that for her client to be guilty: ” (Zahia) would have had to look like a minor and that was not the case and … had informed him that she was under age, which was not the case…and had said in all the press that she told him (Ribery) and others that she was an adult.”

The prosecution was delayed until after the world cup where France crashed out in disgrace in the first round. Players were heavily criticised for refusing to train after Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka was sent home.

Both players were freed pending further investigations.

(Sources: The Guardian, Yahoo/Eurosport, The Associated Press)

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