[QODLink]
Europe

French footballers face 'underage sex' trial

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid stars to go on trial for paying for sex in 2008 and 2009 with prostitute, then a minor.

Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 06:08
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Dehar was 16 years old when the crime allegedly took place [EPA]

French footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, accused of paying for sex with an underage call girl, will go on trial in Paris after being investigated for two years.

Bayern Munich winger Ribery and Real Madrid striker Benzema are to stand trial on Tuesday on allegations of paying Zahia Dehar, then a minor, for sex in 2008 and 2009.    

Ribery's lawyer, Carlo-Alberto Brusa, said his client was innocent and should not be expected to show up in court.

"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," he told Reuters. "When a woman travels around Europe by plane, can you imagine thinking for one second that she's a minor?"

Ribery has acknowledged the encounter but said he did not know she was underage, nor that she was a prostitute. He said he only gave her 200 euros for a taxi ride to the airport.

The trial is expected to run until June 26.

The scandal, which exposed footballers' tastes for flings and partying, came ahead of the 2010 World Cup, further damaging the image of a French squad already tarnished by internal bickering, public tantrums and defeats.

Possible sentences

Algerian-born Dehar, now 21, has since become designer Karl Lagerfeld's muse and protegee, launching her own lingerie line.    

The footballers could be sentenced to up to three years in jail and fines of $60,000 if found guilty of soliciting the services of an underage prostitute.    

According to court documents, Dehar had been a prostitute since the age of 15 or 16, but would tell clients she was 18.

She said she was flown in from Paris to Munich in 2009 for Ribery's 26th birthday party in a luxury hotel, and that he paid her 700 euros for sex.

312

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list