Underage prostitute: I was Franck Ribéry’s birthday gift

When you are one of the world’s top footballers, a cake just doesn’t cut it on your birthday. Neither, it seems, does a glass of champagne, or a night out with friends.

The £40 million Chelsea target Franck Ribéry allegedly chose to mark his 26th by hiring an underage prostitute, in a “paid-for adventure” that could see him jailed.

The new claim emerged today in an interview with the prostitute, Zahia Dehar, in Paris Match magazine, in which she said she had been a “birthday present” for the French football star.

Miss Dehar, now 18, said she had been delighted to help Ribéry celebrate last year by sleeping with him, and admitted at least “two paid-for adventures” with the star.

She said: “Franck approached me in a Paris club. He booked me and flew me to Munich to celebrate his 26th birthday. He made reservations at a luxury hotel. We had sex and he paid me. I was a lovely little present, wasn’t I?”

Miss Dehar, who met Ribéry at the notorious Cafi Zaman nightclub off Paris’s Champs Elysée, was only 17 at that time, although she said she first sold her body when she was 16. Prostitution is legal in France, but only over-18s are allowed to sell sex. “I always looked older than my age,” Miss Dehar told the magazine. “When I realised I could pleasure men, I said to myself, Why not make a profit from it?’”

Miss Dehar, from a North African-immigrant background, still lives with her family in Paris but says they were “ignorant of my activities”.

Ribéry, a married Muslim convert and father of two, is under investigation by French police, accused of paying an underage prostitute. His French team-mates Karim Benzema, 22, and Sidney Govou, 30, face the same charge after also allegedly sleeping with Miss Dehar after meeting her at the Cafi Zaman, which was shut down in a vice squad raid earlier this month.

If found guilty they face up to three years in jail and a £40,000 fine. Ribéry, who plays for Champions League finalists Bayern Munich, told examining magistrates he “saw the girl over a number of months in 2009”. He is even alleged to have celebrated her 18th birthday in Paris, some months after the initial relationship started.

Police say Miss Dehar could make up to £20,000 a month, that she has co-operated fully with their inquiry, and does not face criminal charges herself. She is said to have told them: “I slept with the men, but I wasn’t truthful about my age. I loved them all. They treated me with utter respect and should be left alone.”

Ribéry’s wife, Wahiba, was said to be standing by her husband of seven years. His lawyer, Sophie Bottai, has denied that he slept with Miss Dehar.

“This affair does not concern my client and could only, in the worst case, involve his private life alone,” she said.

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