Zenati was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Of the others, two received prison terms, two and two and a half years, and one received a suspended sentence of 18 months.
In addition to criminal fines, the defendants also had to pay $250,000, or about $281,000, in damages to Valbuena. They are jointly responsible for €150,000 of that total, with Benzema being ordered to pay an additional €80,000 separately and the other defendants an additional €5,000 each.
The court in Versailles, southwest of Paris, learned during the trial last month how Valbuena was first alerted in 2015 to the existence of an intimate video of him, believed to have been stolen from Valbuena’s cell phone.
In June of that year, Valbuena received several calls from men threatening to publish the video if he didn’t pay them tens of thousands of dollars. Valbuena refused and filed a criminal complaint instead.
After several failed attempts, the blackmailers were suspected of contacting Zenati in hopes that he would force Benzema to talk to Valbuena and encourage him to pay, the court was told.
In October 2015, in a conversation with Valbuena at the French squad’s training facilities in Clairefontaine, near Paris, Benzema said he could help his teammate by putting him in touch with someone who could solve the problem, the court heard. .
Benzema, who did not attend the trial, has admitted that he acted as an intermediary, but has always maintained that he was only giving Valbuena friendly advice on how to deal with the blackmail attempt, and did not participate in it.