Football star Paul Pogba has reportedly told French authorities about an alleged plot to blackmail him by a gang that dragged him to a Paris apartment in March and demanded £11m as they threatened him with assault rifles.
The 29-year-old, who has won the World Cup with France, said the men wanted the money for ‘protection services’ stretching back 13 years, including for the time he spent in Manchester.
Pogba claims two armed men said they ‘protected him discreetly’ during a period that spanned more than a decade, including during two spells at Manchester United, the last of which ended earlier this year.
The allegations came after Pogba’s brother Mathias published a bizarre video online on Saturday night – in four languages (French, Italian, English and Spanish) – promising ‘great revelations’ about the Juventus star.
A statement signed by his lawyers, his mother Yeo Moriba and current agent Rafaela Pimenta said that the videos ‘are unfortunately no surprise’ and were in addition to other ‘threats and extortion attempts’.
Judicial sources in Paris confirmed on Sunday that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened. On Sunday night a source close to the case told the Franceinfo news outlet that Pogba’s ‘big brother and childhood friends’ are all named as suspects.
But last night, Mathias – who had spells in English football at Wrexham, Crewe and Crawley Town – denied the claims from his better-known sibling in a furious Twitter outburst.
He wrote: ‘Paul, you really wanted to shut me up completely to lie and send me to prison, I suspected it now it’s true, my version of the facts happens and unlike you.’
Paul Pogba (pictured left) has reportedly told French authorities about an alleged plot to blackmail him by a gang that dragged him to a Paris apartment in March and demanded £11m as they threatened him with assault rifles. This came after Pogba’s brother – Mathias Pogba – said he would share information on his brother in a bizarre video on Twitter (pictured right)
Pogba, 29, who has won the World Cup with France, said the men wanted the money for ‘protection services’ stretching back 13 years and also followed him to Manchester. Pictured: France midfield superstar Paul Pogba (top, second from right) poses before a football match in France in 2019 with brothers Florentin (first to Pogba’s left) and Mathias (to his right)
Pogba (pictured) claims two armed men said they ‘protected him discreetly’ during a period that spanned more than a decade, including during two spells at Manchester United , the last of which ended earlier this year
Pictured: Pogba celebrates winning the World Cup with his brothers and mother. Mathias Pogba has said he will share ‘explosive’ revelations about the former Man United midfielder in a Twitter video
Last night, a judicial source said: ‘Investigators from the Central Office of Judicial Police Combating Organised Crime that he was trapped by childhood friends, and two hooded men armed with assault rifles.’
Pogba said the gang wanted €13m – the equivalent of £11m – and had been threatening him for four months.
Acts of intimidation were carried out in Manchester in April, and later around the Italian city of Turin, where Pogba currently plays for Juventus.
The gang is also said to have taken Pogba to flat in the Paris suburb of Lagny-sur-Marne, where Pogba grew up, at the end of March. There, the gang members accused Pogba of not helping them financially since he became a professional player.
During police interviews, Paul Pogba said he had always been close to his childhood friends and helped them out financially when he could.
But in January he kicked one out his house in Manchester after discovering that the unidentified man had used Pogba’s credit card to steal €200,000 – the equivalent of £170,000.
Paul Pogba was born and raised in Lagny-sur-Marne along with two brothers – Mathias and Florentin, both of whom also play football professionally.
Mathias took to social media this weekend to promise ‘explosive revelations’ about his brother.
‘The French, English, Italian and Spanish public – in other words, the whole world – as well as my brother’s fans, and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother’s team-mates and his sponsors deserve to know certain things,’ he said.
‘In order to make an informed decision if he deserves the admiration, respect and love of the public.
‘If he deserves his place in the French team and the honour of playing in the World Cup. If he deserves to be a starter at Juventus.
‘If he is a trustworthy person, that any player deserves to have at his side.’
Mathias Pogba also addressed his brother’s agent and lawyer, Rafaela Pimenta. Pimenta has taken over the handling of Paul Pogba’s career following the death of his former agent, Mino Raiola, in April.
Mathias Pogba has questioned her ability to hold the position.
Mathias Pogba has insisted he has ‘important things’ to say about PSG forward Kylian Mbappe
The 2018 World Cup winner (pictured right with his wife Zilay Pogba) left United for a second time this summer and re-joined Italian giants Juventus
How the son of Guinean parents became Manchester United’s record signer, getting £89.3 million in 2016, and was awarded the Legion of Honour
Paul Pogba was born and raised in Lagny-sur-Marne to Guinean parents along with two brothers – Mathias and Florentin, both of whom also play football professionally.
The primarily central midfielder told FIFA.com, that former Brazilian forward Ronaldo ‘made him fall in love with football’.
He said: ‘I was enthralled by him as I used to play up front when I was younger.’
At just 16, Manchester United snapped him up before he went to Juventus on a free transfer in 2012, winning a Serie A, a Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana titles.
His star rose further and he won various acolades including the Legion of Honour, FIFA World Cup Best Young Player and Golden Boy.
He returned to Manchester in 2016 for a record £89.3 million, which was the highest fee paid by any English club until 2021. Pogba would go on to help United win the League Cup and Europa League in 2017.
In 2019, he married his wife Bolivian model, Maria Zulay Salaues, who he has two children with.
And would return to play with Juventus this year.
He stated that he would let fans and players know about ‘her integrity, her professionalism… her loyalty’ so that they could decide whether she ‘deserves to represent them.’
Pogba concluded his video by referencing Kylian Mbappe, declaring he has ‘important things’ to say about the 23-year-old.
‘I will tell you very important things about him and there will be elements and many testimonies to confirm my words,’ Pogba said of Mbappe. ‘Everything could be explosive and make a lot of noise.’
Paul Pogba’s lawyers, Yeo Moriba – who is also his mother – and Pimenta have since responded to Mathias’s threats.
‘Mathias Pogba’s recent statements on social networks are unfortunately not a surprise,’ they said. ‘They are in addition to threats and organised extortion attempts against Paul Pogba.’
According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of the allegedly compromising videos.
Pogba also explained to investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout, a holy man, to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star, Mbappe, which Pogba denies.
Later this evening, Mathias also took to Twitter after the reports in French media to take aim at his brother and say: ‘My little brother is finally starting to show his true face.’
Paul Pogba is set to defend the World Cup he won with France in 2018 at the upcoming tournament in Qatar.
He re-joined the Serie A giants on a free transfer after his Manchester United contract expired earlier this summer.
He first arrived at Old Trafford from Le Havre as a 16-year-old in 2009 before being allowed to leave United on a free transfer and join Juventus in 2012.
He is expected to return to action next month. Pogba is married to the Bolivian model, Maria Zulay Salaues, and they have two children together.