- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2022

The brother of French soccer player Paul Pogba was arrested in connection with an extortion plot targeting the star midfielder.

Mathias Pogba, 32, was one of five people who have been placed under formal investigation and criminal association for an alleged €13 million (about $13 million) extortion scheme, according to an unnamed judicial source cited by Agence France-Presse

The four others charged by authorities are all close to the Pogba brothers.

Mathias Pogba was taken into custody Wednesday, and will be held in jail until a judge determines his bail amount, according to ESPN.

Paul Pogba, 29, plays for Italian soccer club Juventus and is considered one of the world’s best at his position. He had previously played for Manchester United and was a member of France’s World Cup-winning team in 2018. 

The midfielder originally filed a complaint with Italian prosecutors in July that he was the target of a blackmail plot by an organized gang, according to a statement signed by lawyers, his mother and his current agent and was provided to multiple outlets.

According to the AFP, Paul Pogba told investigators that blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (a Muslim holy man) to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain and French national teammate Kylian Mbappe. Paul Pogba denied that allegation, per the AFP.

Mathias Pogba admitted to publishing a video last month that promised “great revelations” about his superstar brother and his agent, Rafaela Pimenta.

In the August video, he said the “whole world,” including fans of Paul Pogba, his sponsors and his teammates on Juventus and the French national team, “deserve to know certain things,” according to the AFP.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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