French court says investigation of Benzema was unfair

FILE - In this June 10, 2014 file photo, France's Mathieu Valbuena, left, and Karim Benzema, right, chat during a training session of the french national soccer team, at the Santa Cruz Stadium in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. France's highest court has ruled Tuesday July 11, 2017 in favor of Real Madrid forward Benzema in a blackmail case linked to a sex tape involving his France teammate Valbuena, saying the investigation against the French striker was unfair. (AP Photo/David Vincent, File)

PARIS (AP) France’s highest court has ruled that an investigation of Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema in a blackmail case, linked to a sex tape involving his France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, was carried out unfairly by prosecutors.

Benzema is facing preliminary charges of conspiracy and complicity in an attempted blackmail scheme intended to extort money from Valbuena in exchange for the sex tape. Benzema denies any wrongdoing.

The Cour de Cassation didn’t clear Benzema, but it ruled that investigators had broken rules and used unfair methods to try and prove the existence of a blackmail scam.

It noted that, acting on the instructions of the prosecutor, an investigator had posed as a representative of Valbuena and that, using a pseudonym, he had prompted the holders of the sex tape to try and claim money from the player.