PARIS: Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been arrested and questioned in France in an inquiry into a blackmail case targeting national team midfielder Mathieu Valbuena

Investigators are looking into allegations of attempts to blackmail Valbuena using sex video footage and they took several others, including former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse, in for questioning in mid-October

Benzema’s name came up during phone taps in relation to the inquiry opened last July, said the police source, speaking on condition of anonymity as is standard practice in France for police officers without official communications roles.

“He has nothing to reproach himself for,” Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, was quoted as saying by French media. “He is even happy to be able to put an end to this terrible controversy.”

Benzema had apparently referred to the existence of the tape when talking with Valbuena during a France training get-together. An associate of his brother had reportedly been approach by the blackmailers with the hope of using Benzema in their enterprise.

Polie sources suggested Benzema was interviewed with the intention of resolving whether the conversation was one of support or encouragement to pay.

Last month former France striker Djibril Cisse was detained for questioning and then released.