Frank Ribery and Karim Benzema Face Preliminary Court Charges

Hashem RouhaniContributor IJuly 21, 2010

BERNE, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 13: Karim Benzema (R) and Franck Ribery of France look on ahead of the UEFA EURO 2008 Group C match between Netherlands and France at Stade de Suisse Wankdorf on June 13, 2008 in Berne, Switzerland.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

A French judge issued preliminary charges Tuesday against French football standouts Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema for soliciting an underage prostitute.

Ribery and Benzema were questioned on Tuesday as part of a probe into a suspected network of prostitutes that operated out of a nightclub on Paris' glitzy Champs-Elysees.

Both Ribery and Benzema have denied wrongdoing. Benzema has said he is "unaffected'' by the allegation by a former sex worker. The woman in the center of the scandal is Zahia Dehar.

Dehar says she was solicited separately by Ribery and Benzema when she was 16.

Ribéry is married and has two children. He has admitted having sex with Dehar but insists he was unaware of her age.

Dehar told Paris Match magazine that Ribery flew her to a hotel in Germany for the night as a birthday present to himself. The platinum blonde also posed for the magazine's cover wearing a baby doll dress with a plunging neckline and high heels.

Ribéry and Benzema can face up to three years in jail and a fine of over $58 thousand if convicted.