New Villa frontman Benteke fights to clear his name after car-jacking claims
10:06 GMT, 10 September 2012
Aston Villa's summer signing Christian Benteke is fighting to clear his name after allegations he was involved in a violent car-jacking in his native Belgium.
The Belgian international striker, who joined on a 7m deal from Genk this summer, and two friends were accused of brutally beating a motorist and making off in his Volkswagen Polo car.
The 21-year-old Congolese-born player was arrested at the scene in Liege, Belgium, held overnight and brought before the Palais de Justice, accused of taking part in the car-jacking, the Birmingham Mail reported.
'Dream move': Christian Benteke, a Belgian international striker, joined Aston Villa on transfer deadline day
All three men were later released and both Genk and Villa rushed to issue statements denying the charges.
The Belgian club said that Benteke was interviewed by police merely as a witness to the attack, which happened last November.
Villa insisted that other witnesses had verified Benteke played no part in the car-jacking.
A club statement read: 'Christian and his legal team have co-operated with the investigation and witnesses confirmed he took no part in the matters alleged.'
Goal getter: Benteke in action for his former club Genk, where he had a prolific goalscoring record in the Belgian top flight
Belgian sports journalist Jan Haupsie reported the two men, aged 23 and 24, claim they had paid the victim 6000 euros a day earlier for another car, a Volkswagen Golf, which later showed up on police records as stolen.
Haupsie said: 'The men were stopped in Liege by police who confiscated the car and told them it had been stolen on October 14 from an address in Paris.
'The next day the two men called up their friend, Christian, and asked him for a lift so that they could confront the seller, who was referred to in court as Kevin.'
Benteke completed his 'dream move' to Villa on transfer deadline day, signing a four-year deal believed to be worth around 7m.
The move went through after Genk had rejected two bids and at one point Benteke had threatened to sue the club if they didn't sanction his move.
Villa manager Paul Lambert felt the player was the perfect partner for his other strikers, Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
After his move went through, Benteke told Sky Sports News: 'I am still young and I have realised my dream. My dream was to come here and I am very happy.
'I hope I will be a success. I am motivated.
'It was difficult and I say thank you to Genk and everyone there. I will go forward for a new challenge.
'I think every player wants to come to the Premier League and I am very happy.'
He scored 19 times in 37 league appearances for Genk last season and has five senior Belgium caps.