Madrid ‘Spanish boy band’ apologizes for threatened blackmail

Written by By Cynthia Carroll, CNN

Madrid — The accused “Spanish boy band,” Rakim-Heidi, have issued an apology to their fans in France after the allegations against singer-guitarist Michel Folkes have been dropped.

Armed with a €2.5 million (about $2.9 million) settlement deal, 39-year-old Folkes agreed to plead guilty to blackmailing Real Madrid footballer Karim Benzema, according to the indictment.

Folkes and two unnamed accomplices allegedly threatened to release videos featuring the footballer and his ex-girlfriend in an attempt to blackmail him into paying them more than €3 million ($3.3 million).

“Rakim-Heidi of France totally distances itself from Michel Folkes,” the group wrote on Facebook. “You and your country are unfortunately the victims of his behavior. Now we want to focus on our professional career.”

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The case has raised questions about the strength of Francoise Meilhac’s reputation as France’s most popular female judge.

Earlier this year, Judge Meilhac prosecuted five Real Madrid players for tax fraud in an investigation that led to players being accused of failing to pay about €38 million ($43 million) in tax. The case eventually resulted in the men being indicted and accused of tax fraud.

Lawyers for Folkes revealed that he had “zero” reputation as a tax cheat, calling his case “highly political,” according to a report by the BBC.

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