Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse has been arrested regarding a plot to blackmail his former team-mate and France international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
Cisse, who played for Liverpool, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Barclays Premier League across three spells in England, is one of four men being held by judicial police in France.
‘We can confirm that he is being questioned over his role in this affair,’ a source working for investigators in Versailles, west of Paris, said.
Cisse is accused of conspiracy to blackmail, a charge with a maximum five-year prison sentence.
The striker, who cost Liverpool £14.5million 11 years ago, is said to have been part of a plot to extort money from Valbuena. The arrests took place in the Bouches-du-Rhone and Oise departments.
Valbuena, the diminutive 31-year-old Lyon midfielder who has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs, was asked for money in return for the tape not being published, it is alleged.
Cisse, 34, joined Saint-Pierroise in the Reunion Premier League, the top division in the French overseas territory Reunion located east of Madagascar, this summer.
He signed a month-long deal with the 850,000-population island-based club but is now due to appear on the French version of Strictly Come Dancing, ‘Danse avec les stars’, later this month.
Cisse and Valbuena were team-mates at Marseille during the striker’s spell with L’OM between 2006 and 2009 as well as playing together with the French national team.
Last week, Cisse attacked his ex-wife for appearing on a Channel 5 reality TV programme. He branded Jude Cisse ‘a disgrace’ for featuring in Britain’s Flashiest Families.
The progamme showed Ms Cisse, who celebrated her divorce with a party and three-tiered cake depicting a headless groom, shopping for a Porsche.
Cisse was particularly angry that his former partner had allowed their three children to be filmed.
Cisse first came into the public eye in England when he was signed by Gerard Houllier for a Liverpool club-record fee of £14.5m in 2004, becoming the first non-English speaking player to hold the Anfield side’s transfer record.
After returning to France with Marseille in 2007, he joined Sunderland on loan for the 2008-09 season but was not signed on a permanent deal after the North-East club finished 16th in the Premier League.
His final spell in England finished just over two years ago when he left relegated QPR after a loan at Qatari club Al Gharafa.
Cisse then moved to the Russian Premier League for a short spell with Kuban Krasnodar before returning to France.