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Mastermind of Valbuena sex-tape scandal released from prison

Mustapha Zouaoui, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the extortion attempt which also involves Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, has been set free.

Mastermind of Valbuena sex-tape scandal released from prison
CHARLES PLATIAU Reuters

One of the suspected blackmailers in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal has been released from prison, his lawyer said on Friday.

Mustapha Zouaoui was released on Thursday according to his lawyer Serge Money as French law prevents suspects being held in pre-trial detention for longer than four months.

He was re-arrested in July after failing to respect the terms of his original release in January, when a first four-month detention came to an end.

Benzema still a suspect 

Zouaoui is one of the men accused of attempting to extort money from France international Valbuena in a sex-tape scandal that has seen several high-profile footballers suspected of involvement, including Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.

Benzema is accused of colluding in the extortion

Five men have been charged in the case.

The France international is suspected of having acted as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers -- including one of his childhood friends -- and Valbuena.

Zouaoui is accused of being the mastermind behind the extortion attempt.

Appeal decision due in December 

Benzema and three of the other suspects, including Zouaoui, have asked for the case against them to be dropped.

They say police used "dishonest" methods by acting as a friend of Valbuena's in a telephone conversation with one of the accused.

A decision on their request will be made in December.