World Cup winner Paul Pogba paid €100,000 to an organised group, including his brother, that was trying to extort him for millions, French officials has said.
French prosecutors are investigating allegations that Pogba was the target of extortion by his brother, Mathias Pogba, and childhood friends from the east suburbs of Paris, where they grew up.
They demanded €13m from the France midfielder, and repeatedly intimidated him, claiming he didn’t support them after he became an international star.
No charges have yet been made, prosecutors said, but sources told ESPN that Pogba told the police that the group told him he owed them money for looking after him as a youngster and that they expected a cash payback.
An official close to the investigation confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday that Pogba told investigators he had already paid €100,000.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official practice during an ongoing investigation.
According to French media reports, Paul Pogba told investigators the alleged extortionists wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on another France star, Kylian Mbappe.
Paul Pogba denied the allegation.
Mathias Pogba on Sunday appeared to address the witch doctor claim in a Twitter post, directed at Mbappe: “Kylian, do you understand now? I have nothing against you, what I am saying is for your own good, everything is true and known, the witch doctor is known!”
Mbappe has not responded and has not commented on the scandal that appears to stem from a family feud.
A source told ESPN that the Mbappe family is monitoring the situation.
Mathias Pogba released a new video on social media on Tuesday in which he claimed his brother had paid millions of euros to witch doctors over the years in order to avoid injury and that “these practices require you to do bad things for their rituals with a desire to do harm.”
He also defended himself against the accusation of extortion.
“In his relentless effort to discredit anyone who knows his dirty little secrets, Paul claims that the money he gave to his childhood friends was part of an extortion,” Mathias Pogba said.
“But what if this money is justified by official and registered documents, and there is evidence of a consenting gesture?”