The brother of French soccer star Paul Pogba on Friday denied being involved in attempts to blackmail the Juventus midfielder.
Mathias Pogba’s lawyer, Richard Arbib, said in a statement his client wanted to “emphatically state that he is completely alien to any attempt at blackmail against his brother Paul Pogba”.
Two judges were appointed last week to investigate allegations that the world champion was assaulted by his brother and childhood friends.
Arbib insisted Mathias wanted Pogba “more than anything” to ease the situation with his brother.
Paris prosecutors last month launched an investigation into attempted organized extortion, which is being handled by anti-corruption police. French authorities are investigating allegations that Pogba was the target of a blackmail scheme by his brother and childhood friends, who demanded 13 million euros ($13 million) from the former Manchester United player.
According to France-Info radio, when the group approached Pogba about their demand at the Juventus training center in Turin, he said his brother Mathias Pogba was among them.
The case became public after Mathias Pogba posted a video and tweets threatening to make “explosive revelations” about his brother and France star Kylian Mbappe.
Paul Pogba reportedly told investigators the blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe.
Pogba denied that claim and Mbappe has sided with the player he won a World Cup with in 2018.
“He called me, he gave his version of the facts,” Mbappe said on Monday. “It’s his word against his brother’s word. He (Paul Pogba) already has certain issues and I don’t think it’s the time to add to them. We’ll see how it all goes, I’m quite distant from that all of that.”
French officials said Pogba paid 100,000 euros (nearly $100,000) to the group, which was trying to extort millions more.
Pogba reportedly made the payment after being threatened by masked gunmen in a Paris apartment in March while he was in France for a national team game.
32-year-old Mathias Pogba is also a footballer who has spent most of his career playing for lower division teams in England and other European countries.