PARIS (AP) — World Cup winner Paul Pogba French authorities said Tuesday that he paid 100,000 euros ($100,000) to an organized group including his brother who tried to extort millions of dollars from him.
French prosecutors are investigating allegations that Pogba was targeted for extortion by his brother Mathieu Pogba and childhood friends. They demanded €13 million from the French midfielder, and repeatedly threatened him, claiming he would not support them after becoming an international football star.
An official close to the investigation confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that Pogba told investigators he had already paid 100,000 euros. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official practice during an ongoing investigation.
According to French media reports, Paul Pogba has told investigators that mobsters wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on fellow French star Kylian Mbappe. Paul Pogba denied the allegation.
Mathias Pogba appeared to address the witch doctor’s claim in a Twitter post on Sunday, directing Mbappe: “Kylian, do you understand now? I have nothing against you, what I’m saying is your For profit, everything is true and known. The witch doctor knows!”
Mbappe has not responded and has not commented on the scandal which appears to have stemmed from a family dispute.
The head of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, hinted at the scandal involving two of France’s stars just four months before the World Cup.
“It’s just rumours, right now,” Le Graet said in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo on Monday. Le Grete said in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo on Monday. I hope it calls into question his (World Cup) place in France’s side.
The case became public after Mathias Pogba posted threats on social media last week to make “explosive” revelations about his brother, Paul’s agent Rafael Pimenta and Mbappe. And the French promised “great revelations.”
“It all has the potential to be explosive,” Mathias added.
French public broadcaster BFM reported on Tuesday that Paul Pogba paid up in April after he was threatened by masked gunmen in his Paris apartment in March while That he was in France for the national team games.
The group also called on Paul at Juventus’ training center in Turin. He said Mathias was among them, according to reports by France-Info, which is also a public broadcaster.
In response, Paul released a statement through his lawyer saying his brother’s claims were “in addition to threats and coercion by an organized group against Paul Pogba.”
Paris prosecutors said on Monday they had opened an investigation into a systematic embezzlement attempt this month, which is being handled by anti-corruption police. It would not provide details other than the ongoing investigation.
Paul Pogba, who is 29, won the World Cup with France in 2018 and returned to Juventus this summer after six seasons at Manchester United. Mathias Pogba, three years older, is also a footballer who has spent most of his career with lower-tier teams in Europe.