Paris (AFP) – Multimillion-euro racketeering attempts, threatening video, pressure: the implications in the extortion denounced by footballer Paul Pogba begin to take shape with the indictment and imprisonment on Saturday of his older brother Mathias Pogba and four men .
Mathias Pogba, 32, has been indicted for extortion in an organized gang and participation in a criminal association, said a judicial source. According to a source close to the investigation, he was placed under the more favorable status of assisted witness for the facts of kidnapping on the night of March 19 to 20. He was remanded in custody.
“We are going to challenge this decision”, immediately reacted on BFMTV his lawyer Me Yassine Bouzrou.
“Justice finds that the most serious offense charged (sequestration) does not concern my client, and unfortunately, we have a decision that goes against a file,” he added.
“This is an individual who has never been talked about, who has a clean criminal record, who is not a thug, who is presumed innocent”, he recalled, believing that he had “committed no criminal offence”.
Before the judge of freedoms and detention (JLD), Mathias Pogba, massive build in a light gray tracksuit, seemed very concentrated.
The other four suspects, relatives of the Pogba brothers aged 27 to 36, were indicted in particular for extortion with a weapon, kidnapping in an organized gang and criminal association.
Three of them were remanded in custody. The fourth requested a delay and was temporarily imprisoned pending the debate before the JLD, added the judicial source.
During their police custody which began on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Central Office for the Fight against Organized Crime (Oclco), the five suspects said they were “victims of individuals whose names they refuse to give”, explained another source. close to the survey. But, “they contradict each other and lie,” she said.
The oldest has already been sentenced twice for acts of a criminal nature, said a source familiar with the matter. He wore a splint during the debate, claiming, according to this source, to have been shot in the arm in the context of the Pogba affair.
Me Romain Boulet, who defends a 33-year-old man, believes that his client “is the victim of manipulation and threats from blackmailers, in the same way as Paul Pogba. It’s a trap that has closed on him ” he estimated.
“Like Paul Pogba, my client claims to be a victim in this case. The instruction should shed light on this aspect”, also estimated Me Carole Niechcicki, lawyer for a man born in 1988.
Questions about the role of Mathias Pogba
The role of Mathias Pogba is not yet “totally clear” and “the investigation is far from over”, according to the close source.
Mathias Pogba admitted, before the investigators, to being at the initiative of the video having revealed this affair which shakes the world of football two months before the World Cup in Qatar (November 20-December 18). In this video, released on August 27, the eldest promised “revelations” about his younger brother.
Paul Pogba, Juventus player, then announced that he had filed a complaint with the Turin (Italy) public prosecutor’s office on July 16, denouncing extortion between March and July 2022 amounting to 13 million euros.
Star of the France team, Paul Pogba told investigators that he was trapped by childhood friends and two hooded men, armed with assault rifles, accusing him of not having helped them financially.
Of the 13 million euros claimed, he says he paid 100,000 euros.
The 29-year-old midfielder, nicknamed the “Pickaxe”, then claimed to have recognized his brother among the suspects. However, he had estimated, during another hearing, that Mathias was “under pressure” from people wanting to extract money from him.
Mathias Pogba, also a professional footballer, is also suspected of having pressured his brother’s agent, lawyer Rafaela Pimenta, to get Paul Pogba to pay the sum demanded by his blackmailers.
The agent’s complaint has been joined to the ongoing proceedings, the judicial source confirmed.
In this case, appears the name of French football star Kylian Mbappé. According to Paul Pogba, his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by broadcasting messages in which he allegedly asked a marabout to “cast a spell” on the PSG striker, which he disputes.