0

Once underage prostitute outs French World Cup stars as customers

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

PARIS -- A young woman says she had paid sex with several players on France's World Cup team, adding that none of her customers knew she was under 18 years old at the time.

Zahia Dehar, now 18, said in an interview this week with the French weekly magazine Paris Match the stars included Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou.

The players have testified to police and could face up to three years in prison and a $60,000 fine if found guilty. Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be over 18, and clients are liable if they are not.

The case is at the judicial inquiry stage and no charges have been filed. None of the players commented on Dehar's allegations. France opens World Cup play June 11 against Uruguay.

"I never told anybody I was a minor," Dehar told Paris Match. She said she had been paid for sex since she was 16 when she began partying in Paris nightclubs and charged customers about $2,650 a night.

She contended in the interview she is not a prostitute but an "escort girl" because she didn't belong to a network or a pimp and sometimes chose not to have sex with customers she didn't like.

Dehar said she has cooperated with police because they threatened to revoke her French citizenship. Born in Algeria, Dehar said she and her family obtained French nationality in 2009. She said her family never knew she worked in nightclubs, thinking she was spending nights at a friend's house. Dehar said she initially became an escort to save money to buy a beauty parlor.