Former Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba has revealed how the alleged £11million extortion plot against him took a heavy toll on his physical and psychological health.
The France and Juventus midfielder was threatened by a gang of masked, armed men in a Paris apartment who demanded millions for ‘protection services.’
The ongoing probe has seen several individuals investigated over allegations of armed extortion, kidnapping, and criminal conspiracy against Pogba.
The former Manchester United player, 30, testified before judges once again last month, according to a report in L’Equipe, and gave further details of the incredible series of events.
Pogba’s brother Mathias spent three months in prison between September and December last year while police investigated his role in the extortion attempt, while four others were also placed under formal investigation.
Mathias Pogba has always insisted he is innocent, with his lawyer saying he is ‘a complete stranger’ to any extortion attempt. He was released under judicial review and has been prohibited from contacting Paul, leaving France, and using social networks.
It followed Paul telling police that the gang had been threatening him since March 2022 and were demanding €13m [£11m] for ‘protection’.
After being confronted by men armed with M16 assault rifles while on international duty with France, Pogba reportedly paid the group €100,000 to ‘save time’ – but they continued to make demands for more money.
Reports said acts of intimidation against the footballer were carried out in Manchester in April last year, and later in the city of Turin after he moved to Juventus.
L’Equipe reported that Pogba told judges about the impact the affair had on his playing career.
‘I kept all of this to myself for a long time and then I revealed it. This case has had a big impact on my body, especially on my injuries,’ he said.
Pogba also confessed he feared his friends and family would be hurt by the gang.
The midfielder has missed most of the season because of a knee injury, playing a mere 46 minutes of football since he returned to Juventus from United last summer.
Further revelations from Pogba’s testimony last month include a loan of €38,000 [£33,500] to an individual called Boubacar C in September 2021 to buy gold. The money was never repaid.
Recalling the night in March 2022 when he was reportedly held at gunpoint in his apartment, Pogba said an acquaintance called Roushdane claimed the group had protected him from another separate extortion attempt during Paris Fashion Week.
Roushdane said he was acting as the guarantor of the operation and would be the one to suffer unless Pogba paid the money.
Two days later, in a conversation en route to France’s Clairefontaine training centre, Roushdane explained to Pogba that he’d met the individuals in prison and they’d offered Pogba protection because they ‘respected’ him.
Pogba also explained to the judges that he agonised over the best solution to protect his friends after the demand for £11m.
He decided to take out the €100,000 and hand it to Boubacar to pass on to the gang. Boubacar claims he never received the money.