Franck Ribery caught up in French sex scandal

Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery

Ribery, Sidney Govou, Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa ‘witnesses’ in prostitution probe

BY Jonathan Harwood
LAST UPDATED AT 11:15 ON Wed 21 Apr 2010

France's preparations for the World Cup are becoming mired in a sex scandal revolving around players including Franck Ribery and an investigation into underage prostitution.

The Bayern Munich winger (above, right), who has been linked with a big money move to Chelsea and Manchester United, was interviewed by police as part of the inquiry and it was later claimed that the player had admitted having sex with a 17-year-old prostitute.

The scandal blew up after police raided the Zaman Café, an exclusive club on the Champs Elysees, at the weekend and arrested several prostitutes and a man believed to be their pimp.

It later emerged that after the raid Ribery and another French striker Sidney Govou, who plays for Lyon, had subsequently been questioned by French investigators. However Govou's lawyer says that his client has "never set foot" in the venue.

Now French media is reporting that Karim Benzema (above, left), the highly-rated Real Madrid striker, and Hatem Ben Arfa, a forward for Marseille, are also "witnesses" and will be questioned by police. Both players have both denied any involvement in the scandal.

Prostitution is legal in France, although many of the activities associated with it are not. It is also illegal to pay for sex with anyone under the age of 18.

So far all the players are descibed as "witnesses", but the judge overseeing the inquiry, Andre Dando, has the power to formally investigate the players if he suspects them of involvement in the scandal.

In another twist Ribery and Govou will face each other in tonight's Champions League semi final between Bayern Munich at Lyon.

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