French International football stars Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery are set to face trial for soliciting an underaged prostitute, which dates back to 2008.
The female invovled, Zahia Dehar, told the investigators that Benzema paid for sex with her in 2008, when she was only 16. Ribery allegedly paid for sex with her when he flew her to Munich the following year as a 26th “birthday present” for himself. She also told reporters that neither of the French stars new her real age, at the time.
Ribery has admitted to police that he had sex with Dehar, but denied paying her or knowing she was only 17. Benzema also denies the allegation, the Daily Mail reports.
The case began in 2009 when police were investigating an alleged pimping network in a central Paris bar called the Zaman Cafe.
The players were detained as part of an investigation into an upmarket brothel on the Champs Elysee, along with seven other men including the owner of Zaman Cafe, a nightclub which was alleged to have provided clients with prostitutes who were minors, and a pimp suspected of supplying celebrities and sportsmen with prostitutes.
Benzema and Ribery were first put under formal investigation in July 2010, a time when the French team faced much scrutiny for the scandal and was a huge part of the team’s collapse at the 2010 World Cup.
The footballers could face a sentence of three years in prison or a 45,000 euro fine, if found guilty.