The police investigation was launched following claims by French football star Paul Pogba that he was the victim of a multi-million dollar blackmail plot involving his brother Matias.
The AFP is investigating a case involving family conflict and a medicine man that comes less than three months before the Juventus star is expected to help France defend their World Cup crown.
Who is Matias Pogba?
Matthias, 32, is Paul’s older brother (29) and Florentin’s twin brother. All three are professional soccer players. Mathias, born in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, had a journeyman career that took him to Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Slovenia. He has spent most of his career in the United Kingdom, including Wrexham, Crewe Alexandra and Partick Thistle. Last year he made 12 appearances for Belfort in the French fourth division. Matthias Pogba has also appeared on television in France as a pundit.
Until recently, the Pogba brothers seemed to be friendly. Matthias, Florentina and their mother Yeo Moribu were regularly seen at French matches played by Paul. Paul Pogba is also a major donor to the charity 48 H POUR, set up by Matthias to help provide drinking water and education for children in Guinea.
What did Matias Pogba say?
On Saturday, Matias Pogba posted a video on Instagram promising “great revelations” about Paul and the Juventus player’s agent Rafael Pimente. In the video, Matias Pogba says that “the whole world, as well as my brother’s fans and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother’s teammates and his sponsors deserve to know certain things.”
“Probably, all this is explosive,” he concluded, without adding any content to his “revelations”.
How did Paul Pogba react? A statement released on Sunday and signed by Paul Pogba’s lawyers, his mother Yeo Moriba and agent Pimenta, said the videos released on Saturday evening “unfortunately did not come as a surprise.”
“They are in addition to threats and extortion attempts by an organized gang against Paul Pogba,” the statement said. They added that “the competent authorities of Italy and France were informed a month ago.”
Radio France Info reported that Paul Pogba told investigators he was threatened by “childhood friends and two hooded men armed with machine guns”. They are demanding 13 million euros ($13 million) from him for “services rendered,” he said, adding that a person close to him withdrew 200,000 euros from his credit card.
How far has the investigation gone?
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed to AFP that an investigation was opened on August 3 into allegations of extortion and attempted extortion by an organized gang. According to reports from France Info, confirmed by a source familiar with the case to AFP, Paul Pogba told investigators he was threatened by “childhood friends and two hooded men armed with machine guns” who accused him of not helping them financially.
Paul Pogba also told investigators that he was threatened several times in Manchester while playing for Manchester United and in Turin, where he currently plays for Juventus. He said he recognized his brother Matthias among the suspects.
What’s up with Kylian Mbappe?
Paris Saint-Germain striker and France teammate Paul Pogba is reluctant to appear in the case. Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him, claiming he asked a medicine man to cast a spell on Mbappe, which Pogba denies.
In a series of tweets posted on Sunday, Mathias Pogba addresses Mbappe directly, saying: “Kylian, do you understand now? known! Pity this brother, the so-called Muslim, up to his ears in witchcraft.
How could this affect the French team?
The revelation of the affair is unfortunate for the French team as there are less than three months left before they defend their World Cup crown in Qatar. Paul Pogba is currently sidelined with a knee injury and will struggle to be fit but remains a key player in France, for whom he won 91 caps and was instrumental in the fight for glory at the 2018 World Cup.
Like the 2016 blackmail case involving Karim Benzema, Mathieu Valbuena, and a sex tape, there is a danger that this case could negatively impact team morale. This could also affect Paul Pogba’s relationship with Mbappe. Speaking to RMC Sport, French Football Federation president Noel Le Gré said he hoped the story “won’t call into question” Pogba’s place in the team. “At this stage, these are just rumors,” he added.