Paul Pogba has revealed that he was held at gunpoint by two men who demanded they be paid more than £11million.
The revelation came after the Frenchman ‘s brother Mathias was arrested as part of an investigation into an attempted extortion of the Juventus star. Pogba had been walking to an apartment in Chanteloup-en-Brie when he was confronted by the two armed attackers.
Pogba was immediately forced to turn off and hand over his phone by the men who were wearing bulletproof vests and were heavily armed. They then demanded he pay £11m, including £2.6m in cash, for future protection they would provide.
“I was scared. The two guys pointed their guns at me. Suddenly, being pointed like this under threat, I told them that I was going to pay. They were shouting: ‘Shut up, look down’. When the hooded guys leave, I was told that I had to pay them, otherwise we were all in danger,” Pogba told police according to Le Monde.
Pogba gave that statement to investigators from the Central Office for the Fight Against Organised Crime, which has taken charge of the case. The midfielder filed his complaint in July, with five suspects being detained two months later.
One of those arrested was his own brother Mathias, who has been charged on counts including extortion in a criminal gang and participation in a criminal association with a view to preparing a crime. There is no evidence that he is one of the gunmen who confronted his brother.
Four other people were also arrested, charged with extortion with a weapon in an organised gang, arrest, kidnapping, kidnapping or detention arbitrarily in an organised gang, to prepare or facilitate the commission of a crime or misdemeanour, followed by voluntary release before the seventh day and participation in a criminal association with a view to the preparation of a crime.
Mathias Pogba’s lawyer has denied the accusations and insisted he is working on getting his client released. “We contest this decision and everything will be done to ensure that Mr. Pogba is released quickly,” Yassine Bouzrou said.
Amid the arrests, Paul Pogba has now been placed under police protection in Italy according to La Parisien. He currently plays for Juventus, though has been ruled out until at least the World Cup after being hit by injury in pre-season.
He only joined the Serie A giants in the summer after leaving Manchester United following a six-year spell at Old Trafford. He is yet to feature for Juve competitively due to his injury problem.
It is an issue that could yet rule him out of this winter’s World Cup, with some doubt that he will be able to return in time for the tournament. If he is fit, he should be picked by Didier Deschamps to travel to Qatar.