According to multiple news outlets, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema (as well as Bayern Munich's Franck Ribéry) will go on trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute. Benzema is accused of paying for sex with Zahia Dehar, an Algerian immigrant, in 2008, when she was 16.
News of this story first broke during the World Cup in South Africa two summers ago and many observers thought it helped create the cloud of ill-will and negativity that triggered the French national team's ugly implosion at that tournament.
As late as November of last year, however, the investigation appeared moribund. The Paris state prosecutor had asked that the case against the duo be dropped, as Ms. Dehar informed investigators that she had told both men that she was at the age of legal consent at the time of her supposed meetings with them, according to The Guardian.
The investigating judge in charge of the case has denied the request and this week demanded that Benzema and Ribéry stand trial. If found guilty, the pair could face up to three years in prison or a fine of €45,000, according to Yahoo Sports. Karim Benzema is maintaining his innocence in this matter.
A Message From MM's Editorial Board: We at Managing Madrid believe strongly that he should be considered innocent until proven guilty. However, if he is convicted of this serious offense, not only should he face the legal consequences of his actions, but the club must sanction him severely. These abhorrent crimes do not fit in with the ethos of Real Madrid and must be rejected out of hand.
We will be sure to keep you informed on Managing Madrid's facebook and twitter as the case develops.