Paul Pogba, the star player for Juventus, reportedly paid his extortionists £85,000 (€100,000) when they demanded £11 million from him after dragging him to a Paris apartment in March and threatening him with assault rifles as part of an alleged scheme to blackmail him.
The 29-year-old, a World Cup champion with France, claimed the men demanded the money for 13 years’ worth of “protection services,” including 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.
Reports from French news outlet RMC are claiming that Pogba paid around £85,000 in a bid to ‘save time’ and ‘satisfy the extortionists’ but his attempts saw those plotting against him demand the £11m again.
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 on Sunday night, Mathias, who had spells in English football at Wrexham, Crewe, and Crawley Town denied the claims from his brother
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.’
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.’
However, Paul Pogba has claimed there is no story surrounding Mbappe despite his brother’s claims.
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.’
On Sunday night, a judicial source said: ‘During various hearings, Paul Pogba was able to confide in 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. While he was being held, 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 of 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.
The French prosecutor confirmed to Reuters that an investigation was underway. ‘I confirm that an investigation was opened on 3 August 2022 on the charge of attempted extortion by an organised criminal gang. The investigations have been entrusted to the OCLCO,’ the prosecutor’s office said.
The OCLCO is a unit within the judicial police tasked with investigating organised crime.