Paris - Associates
of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema are suspected of involvement in an
attempted kidnapping with the aim of recuperating money owed to the
star player, French news site Mediapart reported on Thursday.
A dispute, centred on just €50 000 in cash, is believed to be the cause of the failed attempt, according to the report.
Lawyers for former French international Benzema, however, described the claims as "grotesque".
Leo D., who described himself as an agent of the Real Madrid player,
filed a lawsuit Monday, October 8, claiming he had been the victim of an
The 33-year-old accused close friends of Benzema of trying to grab
him in Paris on Sunday, October 7, after the French Ligue 1 game between
PSG and Lyon, hoping to persuade him to transfer the cash.
Smaine T., a childhood friend of Benzema, and the Real Madrid
player's driver, allegedly ordered Leo D. to get into a black van where
he said he believed he saw "the silhouette of Karim Benzema" in the back
of the vehicle.
Mediapart said the dispute is over €50 000 which was agreed to
be paid to Benzema by a sponsor for a trip to Morocco in the summer.
Benzema's entourage believe Leo D. pocketed the money himself.
Sylvain Cormier, the lawyer of Benzema, insisted on Thursday that Leo D.
"has never been the agent of Karim Benzema. This is where the problem
originates - he is perhaps disappointed".
Cormier denounced the accusations as a means to make headlines.
"This whole thing has been agitated by this man who tries very clumsily to hide his own problems.
"This man accuses a relative of Karim Benzema of taking his arm, we
also know that Karim Benzema was not present at the scene - suspicion
of attempted kidnapping is perfectly grotesque," said Cormier.
However, Joseph Cohen-Sabban, the lawyer for Leo D., retorted that
"if Karim Benzema was to take a complaint of libel to the courts, he
would be in trouble."