Prosecutors allege Mr Benzema, who plays in his football club with Spain’s Real Madrid team, encouraged Mr Valbuena to pay an alleged group of blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of public view .
They say Mr Valbuena, who plays for the Greek team Olympiacos, received an initial call threatening to expose the tape in June 2015 while at the France team’s training center in Clairefontaine, west of Paris.
Mr Valbuena, 37, said at nearby Versailles court on Wednesday that it was clear the appellant wanted money and the blackmail attempt had left him fearful for his career and place in the National team.
Mr Benzema, 33, was not present in court for the start of the trial due to professional obligations, said his lawyer, who called the case against him “absurd”.
The forward, who has played 92 times for his country and has been called up to the France squad for this year’s European Championship, played in Ukraine on Tuesday night in his club’s 5-0 phase win. of Champions League groups against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mr Benzema and Mr Valbuena both lost their places in the national team following the scandal, dubbed “the sex tape affair”.
According to prosecutors, Mr. Valbuena’s anonymous first caller said he wanted to “get along” with Valbuena and told him to appoint an intermediary.
The blackmailers first turned to former French international Djibril Cissé to persuade Valbuena to pay the money for silence. Instead, Mr Cissé warned him about the extortion plot, Valbuena said.
An undercover police officer impersonated Mr. Valbuena as an intermediary and recorded telephone conversations between June and October 2015 that identified the alleged blackmailers, prosecutors said.
Mr Benzema was recruited by the so-called blackmailers to trick Mr Valbuena into paying his teammate at a standstill, they claim.
Among the co-defendants of Mr. Benzema are his childhood friend Karim Zenati, who allegedly served as an intermediary, and Mustapha Zouaoui, one of the alleged perpetrators of the scam.
Mr Benzema, who is accused of aiding and abetting attempted blackmail, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros (£ 63,000) if convicted.
His four co-defendants are charged with attempted blackmail.