French footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema go on trial Tuesday in Paris charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
Bayern Munich midfielder Ribery, 30, and Real Madrid striker Benzema, 25, have denied the charges. Ribery has admitted to having sex with Zahia Dehar in a Munich hotel in 2009 but said he did not know she was a minor. She was 17 at the time.
Benzema denies having slept with Algerian-born Dehar in Paris in 2008.
Dehar said both men paid her for sex but insists neither knew she was underage.
The 21-year-old former call girl, who has declined to be part of the case, has since gone on to become a celebrity lingerie designer, with the backing of German couturier Karl Lagerfeld.
She will not be in court Tuesday. The players will also not be in attendance, according to their lawyers. The case is set to run through June 26.
Paying for sex with a minor is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (60,000 dollars).
The affair broke in 2010, just before France’s disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa.
Six other people, including Ribery’s brother-in-law, are also charged in the case. Some of them are accused of aggravated pimping — a charge that carries up to 10 years in prison.