Football

Pogba extortion case takes bizarre twist

6:35 AM ET

Paul Pogba is a major doubt for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to a knee injury. James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

A police investigation into allegations that France midfielder Paul Pogba was targeted by extortionists took a bizarre new twist Friday with his elder brother Mathias releasing a long string of videos taking aim at the 2018 World Cup winner, his entourage and wealthy lifestyle.

More than 30 videos of Mathias Pogba reading a statement many pages long were posted on Twitter.

It is not clear when the videos were filmed. Mathias Pogba was charged in connection with an alleged organised armed extortion attempt against his brother, who plays for Juventus, after he turned himself in for police questioning last week. He has since been held in custody.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a series of questions by the Associated Press.

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"If you are watching this video that will be because my brother Paul Pogba has found a way to silence me," Mathias Pogba said. "I record this video so that whatever happens, everything is revealed."

The words "insurance video, held in a safe place" were written on top of many of the videos. They followed through on previous social media posts where Mathias Pogba had threatened to make explosive revelations about his brother.

Mathias Pogba and four others were handed preliminary charges last Saturday and jailed in the extortion probe, French prosecutors said.

In the latest series of recordings, Mathias Pogba accused his brother of having abandoned members of their family, leaving them in poverty.

He also claimed that the midfielder mixed with criminals, and he repeated claims that Paul Pogba employed a witch doctor. He did not bring any proof to substantiate his accusations.

According to Mathias Pogba's latest claims, the witch doctor is close to former France international Alou Diarra, and Paul Pogba was introduced to him by former Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier.

He said that over the years the France midfielder has spent millions for the services of the witch doctor, asking him for instance to help France win the 2018 World Cup or to cast spells on rival footballers.

Mathias Pogba had previously said that his brother had targeted Kylian Mbappe without being more specific. In his latest videos, he claimed that Paul Pogba asked the witch doctor to "neutralise" Mbappe for the return leg of a Champions League match between PSG and Manchester United back in 2019. United had won that game 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The videos were also accompanied by a series of Twitter posts and a statement addressed to Paul Pogba. The first post in the long thread said it had been sent automatically by "my bot."

"That also means that I am no longer free," the message read.

Mathias Pogba said his life is now in danger because his brother has "betrayed his henchmen," who are taking aim at his entourage in retribution. Mathias Pogba said that some of his relatives "have already been assaulted and shot at" because of his brother.

The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation last month into allegations that Paul Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother and childhood friends demanding €13 million from him. Mathias Pogba has denied taking part in the scheme.

Mathias Pogba, 32, is a free agent after leaving French fourth-division side Belfort in April. He has also enjoyed spells at a number of other clubs across Europe.

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