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CRIME

French footballer Pogba’s brother charged in extortion case

The elder brother of Paul Pogba has been charged and detained over the alleged extortion of the French football star, a source close to the case said Saturday.

French footballer Pogba's brother charged in extortion case
This file photo from 2019 shows France national team player Paul Pogba (R) and his brother Mathias Pogba (L) prior to a football match. Mathias has been charged over the alleged extortion of his younger brother, Paul. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

“We are going to challenge this decision,” Mathias Pogba’s lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, told French broadcaster BFMTV, insisting that his client had committed no criminal offence.

A judicial source said that four other people being held and questioned over the case, aged between 27 and 36, had also been charged and detained.

The five have been held in custody since Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mathias Pogba, 32, has admitted to being behind a bizarre video published on social media (a screenshot of which is below) on August 27 promising “great revelations” about the Juventus player and French national team member.

mathias pogba instagran

The four others are all close to the Pogba brothers.

Paul Pogba had filed a complaint with Turin prosecutors on July 16, saying he was the target of a 13-million-euro blackmail plot.

According to sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of allegedly compromising videos.

Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.

French prosecutors launched an investigation on September 2. It is being handled jointly by the French police’s anti-gang and central crime units.

Several people, including Pogba’s mother, have already been interviewed by police, a judiciary source told AFP.

On the field, Pogba’s hopes of playing for France at the World Cup in Qatar later this year hang in the balance after a knee injury. He had surgery that was described as “successful” earlier this month.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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