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Ribery, Benzema may be off the hook

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iol spt jan20 Ribery-Benzema

AP

A prosecutor asked that French soccer internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema be discharged of solicitation of an underage prostiture. Photo by: Michel Euler

PARIS - A prosecutor asked on Wednesday that French soccer internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema be discharged of solicitation of an underage prostiture.

“It is impossible for the accusation to prove that Franck Ribery was aware” that Zahia Dehar, a prostitute-turned-fashion model, was under 18 - the age of majority in France, prosecutor Jean-Julien Xavier-Rolai told the Correctional Court of Paris.

Xavier-Rolin added that Benzema should also be discharged.

Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich forward Ribery, who were not attending the four-day trial, were being tried on charges of paying Dehar when she was aged 16 and 17.

Ribery has admitted paying her for sex but said he did not know how hold she was. 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.

The judges' decision is expected on Thursday, although it is highly likely that the case will be adjourned for further deliberation.

Reuters


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