The main figure in a prostution scandal that has rocked France ahead of the World Cup has publicly implicated three players. Zahia Dehar, now 18, said in an interview published with French weekly magazine Paris Match that French stars Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou paid to have sex with her when she was under age 18. French police had begun investigating and questioning players earlier this month.
Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be over 18, and clients are liable if they are not. The players could face up to three years in prison and a $60,000 fine if found guilty.
“I never told anybody I was a minor,” said Dehar, who said she had been paid for sex since she was 16 when she began partying in Paris nightclubs and charged customers about $2,650 a night. She said is not a prostitute but an “escort girl” because she didn’t belong to a network or a pimp.
An Algerian native who obtained French nationality in 2009, Dehar said she has cooperated with police because they threatened to revoke her French citizenship. She said she initially became an escort to save money to buy a beauty parlor.