Paul Pogba’s brother Mathias has been charged and detained in police custody in relation to the alleged plot to extort money from the Juventus midfielder.
Through his lawyer Yassine Bouzrou, Mathias Pogba has claimed innocence. “We are going to challenge this decision,” Bouzrou revealed to French broadcaster BFMTV.
Mathias Pogba is said to have admitted that he was behind videos published on social media in French, Italian, Spanish and English where he threatened to make “great revelations” about his brother Paul Pogba, France teammate Kylian Mbappe, and Paul Pogba’s agent and lawyer Rafael Pimenta.
This prompted Paul Pogba to release a statement detailing how he had been the victim of an alleged extortion attempt and threats from an organized gang said to involve Mathias Pogba and Paul’s childhood friends.
On July 16, Pogba filed a complaint with prosecutors in the Italian city of Turin where Juventus are based and claimed he was a target of a blackmail plot for €13 million ($13 million). In a Franceinfo report, it was said that this money was demanded for “protection services” rendered over Paul Pogba’s 13-year career.
In the brothers’ homeland, prosecutors opened a judicial investigation which has thus far led to Mathias being arrested, charged and detained.
Shortly after Paul Pogba released his statement, Mathias Pogba claimed to have video evidence of Paul hiring a west African religious figure known as a Marabout to conjure a witchcraft spell on Mbappe and see the Paris Saint Germain superstar injured.
This evidence has not been produced, and Paul Pogba is said to have admitted to employing witchcraft but only to keep himself free from injuries as opposed to trying to harm others.
A potential rift between Paul Pogba and Mbappe threatened to derail France’s plans to successfully defend their 2018 World Cup title in Qatar later this year, but Mbappe has publicly cleared the air and offered to put the debacle behind them for the good of Didier Deschamps’ national team.
Pogba’s brush with witchcraft was also unsuccessful in keeping him off the operating table. Since returning to Juventus for the second time in his career on a free transfer from Manchester United, he is still yet to make his debut for the Serie A giants, owing to a knee knock picked up on a preseason tour of the United States.
Pogba faces a race against time to be ready for Qatar 2022 and France’s opening game at the World Cup against Australia after undergoing surgery.