Ribery, Benzema cleared of sex charges

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iol spt jan30 Ribery-Benzema AP France soccer internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema have been discharged of solicitation of an underage prostitute. Photo by: Michel Euler

Paris - France soccer internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema have been discharged of solicitation of an underage prostitute, the Paris Correctional Tribunal said on Thursday.

Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich forward Ribery, who did not attend their trial, were being tried on charges of paying prostitute-turned-fashion model Zahia Dehar when she was aged 16 and 17.

Ribery has admitted paying her for sex but said he did not know her age. Benzema has denied having any sexual relations with Dehar.

Paying for sex is not illegal in France but underage prostitution is.

Last December, the National Assembly passed a bill to fine prostitutes' clients, but it still has to pass the Senate and be signed by president Francois Hollande before it becomes law. – Reuters



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