Benzema’s lawyers want hearing with Valbuena

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema applauds to fans during the La Liga match against Getafe last weekend.

Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

PARIS —

Karim Benzema’s lawyers have requested a face-to-face meeting with Mathieu Valbuena in an effort to ease tensions between the France teammates embroiled in a blackmail scandal.

Benzema, who has been handed preliminary charges of conspiracy to blackmail relating to an extortion scam over a sex tape involving Valbuena, has no right to meet the Lyon midfielder during the investigation.

The hearing could allow the players to speak for the first time since Benzema was charged last month and placed under judicial supervision. The investigating judge has one month to consider the request.

PAPER CHASE

Preliminary charges under French law mean magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow time for further investigation. The charges may later be dropped.

Benzema’s lawyers said Tuesday they filed the request for the meeting but declined to comment further.

In an interview with newspaper Le Monde this month, Vabuena spoke directly about Benzema’s attempts to pressure him and said he felt betrayed by his France teammate.

Valbuena said he was particularly shocked by the way Benzema spoke about him over the phone with one of the suspected blackmailers, with Benzema joking that Valbuena would get ”eaten by the piranhas.”

Benzema, who denies wrongdoing, acknowledged that the tone of his conversation was uncalled for and apologized to Valbuena and his family.