Germany opened a probe Thursday into allegations that French football star Franck Ribery knowingly paid for sex with an underage prostitute, in Munich in 2009. France has also opened investigations on the footballer.
AFP - German prosecutors opened Thursday a preliminary probe into allegations French footballer Franck Ribery had sex in Munich with a prostitute knowing she was under 18.
"We are looking into whether to begin a formal investigation," Barbara Stockinger, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutors' office in the southern city, home to Ribery's club Bayern Munich, told AFP.
Ribery has never denied having paid for sex with Zahia Dehar, now 18, but his lawyer has told reporters that the player had had no idea in 2008 that she was under-age. Dehar has also said he was unaware of this.
Dehar has said that Ribery had her flown over from Paris and that they had sex in a luxury Munich hotel on the player's 26th birthday in April 2009. He has admitted paying for her flight and hotel room.
Ribery, now 27, was hauled in for seven hours of questioning by Paris magistrates on Tuesday. He was charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute and then released.
His French international teammate Karim Benzema, 22, was also detained for questioning and charged over his alleged relations with the same teenage call girl.
Stockinger stressed that German prosecutors would await the outcome of the French investigation and that the married attacking midfielder could not be prosecuted for the same crime twice.
In Germany the general age of consent is 16 years -- in France it is 15 -- but like in France, in the case of prostitution a young person remains legally a minor until he or she reaches 18.
But while the maximum penalty in France is three years in prison, in Germany it is five years.
Date created : 2010-07-23