Karim Benzema suspended from France team over blackmail inquiry
Karim Benzema has been suspended from the France team until an investigation into his alleged part in a blackmail and sex tape case has been resolved, the BBC reports.
The 27-year-old striker could miss Euro 2016, which starts in France in June.
Benzema has been placed under formal investigation by a French judge over an alleged bid to blackmail France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex video.
The Real Madrid forward denies any wrongdoing but if found guilty, could face a minimum of five years in prison.
France Football Federation president Noel le Graet, who had previously supported Benzema, said it was a “heart-breaking” decision to suspend him.
But he added: “I have decided that he is not available for selection.”
According to French media, Benzema mentioned the tape to Lyon midfielder Valbuena, 31, during a national team training session at Clairefontaine on 5 October.
Benzema, who scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, told police he was advising a friend about what to do in a difficult situation.
But he was handed preliminary charges of complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a criminal conspiracy by the judge in November.
When a suspect is placed under formal investigation, a judge will then determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the suspect to be formally charged.