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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Benzema to be questioned in prostitution probe

Benzema to be questioned in prostitution probe

April 22, 2010 15:02 IST

France striker Karim Benzema will be questioned as a witness by police investigating a prostitution network, a police source close to the case said on Wednesday.

karim benzemaNo date for the hearing has been set yet and investigators want to proceed as discreetly as possible, even considering travelling to Spain to hear the Real Madrid player, the source said.

Benzema's agent said the player had not been summoned.

"He has not received any notification," the agent, Karim Djaziri, said.

Sources close to the investigation had earlier said two other France players, Franck Ribery and Sidney Govou, had been heard as witnesses by police.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed the France players had been heard as witnesses before saying in a brief statement that they should be presumed innocent at this stage.

Ribery's lawyer, Sophie Bottai issued a statement to say he was only questioned because he knew somebody close to a person targeted in the inquiry.

Govou's lawyer, Thierry Braillard, said on Wednesday: "Sidney Govou has nothing to do with all this. Some are suggesting he could be close to a procuring network but it's absolutely not true."

French media suggested the players were clients of a night club in Paris's posh Champs-Elysees district that allegedly featured escort girls.

Govou's lawyer and Benzema's agent both said those two players had never been to that night club.

France, preparing for the World Cup in South Africa in June, could have done without all this.

The former world and European champions have faced criticism for under-performing since reaching the final of the last World Cup four years ago in Germany.

Ribery is France's most popular player since Zinedine Zidane, who retired after his infamous headbutt in the defeat by Italy on penalties in the 2006 World Cup final.

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