French footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema are to go on trial in Paris on charges of paying for s*x with an under-age prostitute.
Under French law, paid s*x with someone under the age of 18 is regarded as s*x with a minor- punishable by three years in prison and €45,000 fine.
Algerian-born Ms Zahia Dehar had told investigators that neither footballer had known her real age at the time of their affairs- because she had lied to them.
But soliciting for s*x from a prostitute under 18 in France is a crime even albeit the 15 years legal age of consenting s*x.
The state prosecutor had asked for the case to be dropped in November 2009, but the investigating judge said Ms Dehar looked so young that they must have known.
The affair which came to fore early 2010 (before the World Cup in South Africa) also involved six other people. Some of them accused of ‘aggravated pimping.’
Ribery and Benzema were arrested as part of an investigation into a Paris prostitution ring. Mr Ribery has since admitted of having s*x with Ms Dehar in Munich in 2009, when she was 18. Benzema denies there was any encounter, which Ms Dehar countered by saying he paid her for s*x in 2008 when she was only 16.
For Mr. Ribery’s lawyer Carlo-Alberto Brusa, for a girl to have traveled across border for paid s*x means she exactly knew what she was up to. He will request for the case to be thrown out on Tuesday.
Ms Dehar went on to become a fashion designer for Karl Lagerfeld’s muse and protégée, launching her own luxury and lingerie line following the launch of the high-profile investigation.
Franck Ribery is a Bayern Munich midfielder, married to his childhood sweetheart and also an observant convert to Islam. Karim Benzema is a Real Madrid forward.