A gang armed with extortion, a sorcerer and a scandal that has sent familiar whispers across France.
French prosecutors are investigating claims by World Cup-winning footballer Paul Pogba that he was targeted by organized gangs worth millions of euros.
The relationship, apparently stemming from a family dispute, generated many conversations online.
It went public on August 27 when Paul’s older brother Mathias Pogba shared a video on TikTok.
In a statement recorded in four different languages, Mathias threatened to share “explosive” revelations about his brother and Paul’s new agent, Rafaela Pimenta.
“[The public] he deserves to know a few things to make an informed decision about who he is [Paul Pogba] he really deserves admiration, respect, a place in the French national team and if he is a person worthy of trust, “said Mathias.
The “revelations” include the bizarre claim that Paul Pogba hired a “marabout”, or an African sorcerer, to cast a spell on his teammate and French football star, Kylian Mbappé.
in a next Twitter threadMathias Pogba repeated his unfounded assertions, stating that “everything is tried and true, the marabout is known”.
French law does not recognize any crime of hiring a sorcerer. Paul Pogba denied the allegations.
The dispute of the Pogba family
Paul Pogba returned to Juventus this summer after six seasons at Manchester United and has enjoyed a brilliant career of numerous major trophies. Brazilian lawyer Rafaela Pimenta became Pogba’s agent after Mino Raiola’s death.
By contrast, Mathias Pogba, three years older than Paul, has spent much of his football career with lower tier teams in Europe. Florentin, twin of Mathias, is also a professional footballer and both have been regularly seen at French international matches to see their younger brother in action.
Paul is also a major donor to 48 H POUR, a charity founded by Mathias to help provide clean water and education to children in Guinea, where he and Florentin were born.
It’s unclear why the siblings’ relationship now appears to have deteriorated, with Paul’s mother, Yeo Moriba, advocating denial of the younger son.
“My little brother who is finally starting to show his true colors,” wrote Mathias Pogba on Twitter. “It’s not about the money.”
“You involved me against my will, I almost died because of you, you left me in the hole and you want to be innocent, when all is said and done people will see that there is no one more cowardly, more traitor and more hypocritical of you on this earth “.
Four days later he released another dark and cryptic video with a voiceover containing violent language and a moody soundtrack.
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that on August 3 it had opened an investigation into attempted organized extortion, managed by the anti-corruption police. The overdue investigation expanded to investigate possible extortion with a weapon, kidnapping and participation in a criminal association.
Mathias Pogba and four other people, aged 27 to 36, were subsequently taken into custody on 14 September. Three others were charged on September 17.
In a statement, Mathias denied any accusation and stated: “emphatically that he is a complete stranger to any attempt at extortion against his brother”.
What did Paul Pogba say?
After Mathias’s initial video was shared online, the 29-year-old World Cup winner released a statement, signed by his lawyers, his mother and Pimenta. He claimed that his older brother’s discrediting statements were “sadly not a surprise”.
“They add to threats and extortion attempts by organized gangs against Paul Pogba. The competent authorities in Italy and France were notified a month ago and there will be no further comments in relation to the ongoing investigation.”
Paul Pogba claims that an organized gang, involving close friends and his brother Mathias, has asked him for 13 million euros.
The group is said to have repeatedly intimidated Paul Pogba over the past few months, claiming that they protected him for years and that he did not support them after he became an international footballer.
On 30 August a A French official close to the investigation told the Associated Press that money had already changed hands.
Paul Pogba allegedly told investigators that he paid the group € 100,000 in April after being threatened by masked men armed with assault rifles in a Paris apartment in March while in France for national team matches.
French media also reported that the group made inquiries of Paul at his current team’s Turin training center, Juventus, and his former team in Manchester. In one such incident, Paul said he recognized him as his brother, Mathias, according to France-Info.
The media organization later reported that Mathias Pogba was “under pressure” from others in the group.
Attorney for 32-year-old Richard Arbib insisted that Mathias wanted “more than anything else” to alleviate the situation with his brother.
Blackmail and extortion in football
Paul Pogba is not the first famous footballer to claim that he was extorted from relatives or close friends.
In 2018, former Togo international footballer Emmanuel Adebayor told in a documentary on the channel that he had been the victim of extortion by his family, saying that the matter had pushed him to the brink of suicide.
“As soon as you become a footballer, as soon as you become famous, as soon as you start earning some money, everything changes,” he said.
Following this week’s issue, the French union of professional footballers (UNFP) is now trying to alert and remind players that they can become “prime targets” for racketeering “vulture” due to the large amount of money in modern football. Players.
UNFP Director General Philippe Lafon told AFP that the pressure on footballers has increased with social media, where images can “travel around the world in 30 seconds”.
Mbappe, for his part, did not initially comment on the “sorcerer” rumors. He later told reporters that Paul Pogba had given him his side of the story and that “I prefer to take the word of a teammate”.
The president of the French Football Association, Noel Le Graet, has played down the story calling it “just rumors”, just four months before the World Cup.
In 2016 both Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena were omitted by the French national team in view of an important tournamentafter Benzema was accused of conspiring to blackmail his international teammate for a sex tape in 2015.
Benzema was sentenced last year to a suspended prison term of one year and imposed a € 75,000 fine.
Meanwhile, two Paris Saint-Germain teammates Kheira Hamraoui and Aminata Diallo were targeted by masked men in November, which left Hamraoui with leg injuries. Tell it what initially questioned on suspicion of involvement, causing shock in the mediabut he was eventually released.
The matter put a halt to Paris Saint-Germain’s season, as they failed to retain the women’s Division 1 title. The investigation is ongoing and now focuses on an alleged extramarital affair between Hamraoui and former French footballer Eric Abidal.
With this large-scale Pogba family scandal making headlines, French football officials are hoping this affair won’t derail the national team’s attempts to hold the World Cup in Qatar this winter.