Karim Benzema: Real Madrid star suspended by France over blackmail case

    Story highlights

    • Karim Benzema suspended by France over ongoing blackmail case
    • Real Madrid star could miss the European Championships in 2016
    • Benzema's attorney says he is innocent of plot to extort money from team-mate

    (CNN)One of France's biggest soccer stars looks set to miss the 2016 European Championships after he was suspended from national duty for his alleged involvement in a blackmail plot.

    Karim Benzema, who plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid, has been implicated in a scheme to blackmail fellow player Mathieu Valbuena.
      Now French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has taken a "personal decision" that Benzema is to be excluded and has informed coach Didier Deschamps.
        The 27-year-old is under investigation for "complicity in blackmailing and participating in criminal association with intent to organize a crime," according to the Versailles prosecutor's office.
        The statement used the French term "mise en examen" -- a legal status that allows prosecutors to investigate someone accused of criminal activity for up to two years.
        A source close to the investigation told AFP it surrounded the existence of a purported sex tape.
        Benzema denies the charges but could face up to five years in prison if foun