fRENCH SOCCER STARS fACE CHARgES
A French judge issued preliminary charges Tuesday against soccer stars
Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema for soliciting an underage prostitute — the latest setback for a national team that returned from the World Cup in disgrace and disarray.
Ribery and Benzema were questioned Tuesday as part of an investigation into a suspected network of prostitutes that operated out of a nightclub on Paris’ glitzy Champs-Elysees, a judicial official told The Associated Press.
The scandal, which broke before the World Cup began June 11 and has been front-page news in France, includes allegations by a self-described escort girl who says Ribery flew her to visit him as a birthday present to himself when she was still under 18. Ribery is married with two children.
Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich forward Ribery could face up to three years in prison if convicted of paying to have sex with a minor. They are among the most famous soccer players in France.
Both have denied any wrongdoing.