French footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema in court over charges of paying for sex with under-age prostitute
French international players face up to three years in prison
Oliver Duggan has a BA in Politics and Parliamentary Studies from the University of Leeds and an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City University London. He works as a freelance reporter and editorial assistant for The Independent and i with a focus on Home Affairs and politics.
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Two French international footballers who are charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute appeared in court in Paris today.
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema both deny the allegations and the young woman involved, Zahia Dehar, testified that neither player knew she was under 18 at the time.
Under French law, the age of consent is 15 but paid sex with anyone less than 18-years-old is classified as sex with a minor and the pair face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of €45,000 (£55,000) if convicted.
The affair, which occurred between 2008 and 2009 and was revealed shortly before the 2010 World Cup, sees six other people charged with offences. Some of them are accused of "aggravated pimping".
Ms Dehar, now 21 but 16 at the time of the incident, became famous in Europe after the scandal and has since launched her own luxury lingerie line and is reportedly the muse of German fashion designer Karl Lagerfield.
Ribery did not attend the hearing as there was "no victim," his lawyer said, adding that his client requested proceedings be held behind closed doors due to their salacious nature.
"In French law, it's not forbidden to make love to a woman and even to pay her for it, what is forbidden is to do it with a minor," Carlo-Alberto Brusa said. "When a woman travels around Europe by plane, can you imagine thinking for one second that she's a minor?"
The Champions League winner has admitted sleeping with Ms Dehar, but maintains he did not know she was then under-age. Benzema meanwhile denies any encounter.
In an unusual twist, prosecutors had sought an acquittal for the two players and Ribery's brother-in-law, who was also implicated, but investigating judge Andre Dando argued they must have been aware of her real age.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole officially 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Ebola virus in the US: What are the symptoms, what is it and is there a cure?
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education urgently seek...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Key stage 3 and 4 Teacher requi...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...