The prostitute at the centre of the scandal that has rocked French football has admitted to having sex with international stars Franck Ribéry, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou, the French daily Le Monde reported on Wednesday.
The report in Le Monde is based on an investigation carried out by France’s vice squad, which the newspaper obtained.
The Bayern Munich striker in turn admitted to having sex with Zahia and to paying for the trip, but denies paying her for sex. He claims to have been unaware she was under 18 at the time. Zahia said she lied to Ribéry about her age.
Le Monde also reported that Lyon striker Sidney Govou, also implicated in the scandal, met Zahia in March 2010, when the woman was legally an adult. The Lyon striker was reportedly surprised when the young woman asked him for money after they had intercourse.
The report added that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema met with Zahia in 2008, when she was 16 years old and Benzema 21. Benzema is expected to face the vice squad’s questioning on Wednesday afternoon.
However, Marseille star Hatem Ben Arfa, whose name has also surfaced in the affair, was not mentioned by Zahia, according to Le Monde.
As soon as the story was published, online social networks were flooded with attempts to uncover the woman’s identity.
The Facebook account of a certain Zahia, whose surname begins with D, and who is a "friend" of Abou Show, the suspected pimp in the sex scandal, was widely shared on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The photos in the account could be seen by all visitors until 12:30pm on Wednesday, but can now no longer be accessed.
Zahia leaves her mark on Ribéry
Ribery’s alleged involvement in the scandal continues to top headlines, and not without consequences for the French footballer, whose team faces Lyon on Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
According to the Spanish press, Ribéry can give up hope of joining either Real Madrid or Barcelona, both of whom he was in discussions with for a transfer.
Bayern Munich has so far remained tight-lipped over the affair. But this could provide the Bavarian club with an opportunity to shed Ribéry, who has been vocal about his desire to part with the team.