The two players spent 7 hours in custody and charged by the judicial magistrate Andre Dando with having sex with an underage prostitute, Zahia Dehar. If the investigation proves that they knew she was below 17 years of age then Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema could potentially face three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.
Zahia D., divulged in her Paris Match interview in April that Ribery and Benzema both were aware that she was a minor when she met them in 2008. Ribery actually paid for her to visit him when he was at Bayern as part of his birthday celebrations. His lawyer maintains that he was unaware of her age and he had no way of knowing she was a minor because “she did not look like a minor.”
However, investigators are trying to ascertain whether he was the one who bought the ticket because if he did, then he would be aware of her date of birth.
Andre Dando can hear both players as witnesses if he believes that there appears to be serious and consistent evidence against them.
What does this mean for both players. Actually if one has to go by the words of the Sports Minister, Roselyne Bachelot then even indictment should be enough to disqualify them from ever representing France. However, Bernard Laporte, the former Sports Minister framed it in morally relative terms. He criticised the attention given the allegations. “We make things very important which are perhaps not all that important. He [Ribéry] hasn’t killed anyone … I don’t believe in a severe punishment.”
Laurent Blanc has a monumental task ahead of him.