The trial of Karim Benzema and France teammate Franck Ribery is set to begin in Paris today, with both charged with having sex with an underage prostitute.
Neither footballer is expected to attend the trial’s start, but both face up to three years in prison and fines of up to €45,000, if found guilty.
The Real Madrid and Bayern Munich forwards deny knowingly paying for sex with Zahia Dehar. The age of consent in France is 15, but paying for sex with anyone under the age of 18 is a crime.
The two players are alleged as having intercourse with Ms Dehar when she was 16 in Benzema’s case, and 17 in Ribery’s case.
“We are going in confident and we are going to fight,” Ribery’s lawyer Carlo Alberto Brusa has told reporters.
The Bayern man has admitted having sex with Ms Dehar in 2009 when she was flown to Munich for a 26th birthday ‘present’. However, the 30-year-old maintains that he could not have known she was not 18 at that time.
Benzema meanwhile, has denied allegations that he paid for sex with Ms Dehar in a Paris hotel.