Football

Published: Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 9:47:01 PM
Updated: Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 9:47:10 PM

Ribery and Benzema discharged in sex trial

FIFA Men's World Player of the Year 2013 nominee Franck Ribery of France addresses a news conference ahead of the FIFA Ballon d'Or soccer awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

FIFA Men's World Player of the Year 2013 nominee Franck Ribery of France addresses a news conference ahead of the FIFA Ballon d'Or soccer awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

PARIS (Reuters) - France soccer internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema have been discharged of solicitation of an underage prostitute, the Paris Correctional Tribunal said on Thursday.

Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich forward Ribery, who did not attend their trial, were being tried on charges of paying prostitute-turned-fashion model Zahia Dehar when she was aged 16 and 17.

Ribery has admitted paying her for sex but said he did not know her age. Benzema has denied having any sexual relations with Dehar.

Paying for sex is not illegal in France but underage prostitution is.

Last December, the National Assembly passed a bill to fine prostitutes' clients, but it still has to pass the Senate and be signed by president Francois Hollande before it becomes law.

(Reporting by Pauline Mevel,; Writing by Julien Pretot,; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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