- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

PARIS (AP) - The investigating judge in the blackmail case shaking the France football team has lifted the order preventing Karim Benzema from getting in touch with Mathieu Valbuena.

Real Madrid striker Benzema is facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to blackmail relating to an extortion scam over a sex tape involving France teammate Valbuena.

Benzema can meet with Valbuena but remains banned from contacting the other people who have been handed preliminary charges in the case. The prosecutor is appealing.

Preliminary charges under French law mean magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow time for further investigation.

Benzema has been suspended from the national team until the case has been resolved, meaning that he could miss the European Championship to be held in France from June 10.

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