French footballers embroiled in prostitute sex scandal
French police have questioned Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Lyon’s Sidney Govou as witnesses in a case of prostitution involving a minor.
Mr Ribery, 27, and Mr Govou, 30, were allegedly “regular” visitors to the Zaman nightclub on the Champs-Ãƒ”°lysees in Paris.
According to reports in L’Equipe, the destination is a hot spot for celebrities and football players and the investigators suspect the establishment has been providing its customers with under-age prostitutes.
The investigation is focused upon one man, named “Abou”, who is reportedly the head of an under-age prostitution circuit. One particular Moroccan minor is alleged to have spent considerable time with some French footballers including Mr Ribery.
But his lawyer insisted that after receiving questions from the trial judge the matter was closed and that the player would be subjected to no more enquiries from the judiciary.
The 27-year-old Bayern winger converted to Islam in order to marry his Algerian wife. The couple have two daughters.
Mr Govou’s agent has claimed no wrong doing and has insisted his client, who is single but has a five-year-old daughter, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnever set foot’ on the premises.
“My client would like to affirm he has no link whatsoever with any pimp network,” said Thierry Braillard, counsel for Mr Govou. “Sidney Govou has notably never set foot in the notorious Cafe Zaman in Paris.”
The president of the French Football Federation, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, said: “There is no reaction to give on a matter like this. An investigation is underway and I have no information on that. At the moment it is not possible to make a comment.”
The offence of sexual relations with a minor in France is punishable by a €45,000 fine and a three-year jail sentence.