French footballer Karim Benzema has said that the allegations he was a part of a sex tape blackmail plot are “all a huge misunderstanding”, reports say.
Mr Benzema is due to speak on TV later about the scandal involving his France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
He is under formal investigation and could face five years in jail if found guilty of taking part in blackmail.
In a leaked transcript of a hearing he admits telling Mr Valbuena lies but claims he was only trying to help.
“It’s all a huge misunderstanding. All I was doing was trying to help. There’s nothing to any of it, no blackmail or demands for money,” Mr Benzema told investigating judge Nathalie Boutard in early November, according to French newspaper Le Monde.
Mr Benzema said he was told about the sex tape while he was dining in Madrid with Karim Zenati, a childhood friend whom he employs.
Someone he did not know told him there was a “hot video” featuring Mr Valbuena, he said.
Mr Benzema later told Mr Valbuena about the video and said he knew someone who could help – this was Mr Zenati, Mr Benzema told the judge.