Africa-Press – Eswatini. Mathias Pogba, 32, was indicted for extortion in organized gang and participation in a criminal association, said a judicial source. According to a source close to the investigation, he was placed under the more favorable status of witness for the facts of sequestration in the night of 19 to 20 March. He was placed in pre-trial detention.
“We will challenge this decision,” immediately reacted on BFMTV his lawyer Yassine Bouzrou.
“Justice notes that the most serious offense charged (kidnapping) does not concern my client, and unfortunately, we have a decision that goes against a case,” he added.
“This is an individual who has never been talked about, who has a clean criminal record, who is not a thug, who is presumed innocent,” he recalled, estimating that he had “committed no criminal offense.
In front of the judge of freedoms and detention (JLD), Mathias Pogba, massive in a light gray tracksuit, seemed very concentrated.
The four other suspects, relatives of the Pogba brothers aged 27 to 36 years, have been indicted for extortion with a weapon, kidnapping in an organized gang and criminal conspiracy.
Three of them have been remanded in custody. The fourth requested a delay and was provisionally incarcerated pending the debate before the JLD, added the judicial source.
During their custody started Tuesday and Wednesday at the Central Office for Combating Organized Crime (Oclco), the five suspects said they were “victims of individuals whose names they refuse to give”, said another source close to the investigation. But, “they contradict themselves and lie”, she said.
The oldest has already been convicted twice for criminal acts, said a source close to the case. He wore a splint during the debate, ensuring, according to this source, having been shot in an arm in the context of the Pogba case.
Me Romain Boulet, who defends a 33-year-old man, believes that his client “is a victim of manipulation and threats from blackmailers, in the same way as Paul Pogba. It is a trap that has closed on him,” he said.
“In the same way as Paul Pogba, my client claims to be a victim in this case. The instruction will have to make the light on this aspect”, also estimated Me Carole Niechcicki, lawyer of a man born in 1988.
– Questions on the role of Mathias Pogba –
The role of Mathias Pogba is not yet “totally clear” and “the investigation is far from over”, according to the source.
Mathias Pogba admitted, in front of the investigators, to be at the initiative of the video having revealed this affair which shakes the world of soccer in two months of the World Cup in Qatar (November 20 – December 18). In this video, released on August 27, the elder promised “revelations” on his younger brother.
Paul Pogba, Juventus player, had then announced that he had filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Turin (Italy) on July 16, denouncing extortion between March and July 2022 amounting to 13 million euros.
Star of the French team, Paul Pogba told the investigators to have been trapped by childhood friends and two hooded men, armed with assault rifles, blaming him for not having helped them financially.
Of the 13 million euros claimed, he says he paid 100,000 euros.
The 29-year-old midfielder, nicknamed the “Pioche”, had then claimed to have recognized his brother among the suspects. However, he estimated, during another hearing, that Mathias was “under pressure” from people wanting to get money from him.
Mathias Pogba, also a professional footballer, is also suspected of having pressured his brother’s agent, the lawyer Rafaela Pimenta, to get Paul Pogba to pay the amount claimed by his blackmailers.
The complaint of the agent was attached to the ongoing procedure, confirmed the judicial source.
In this case, appears the name of the French soccer star Kylian Mbappé. According to Paul Pogba, his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by broadcasting messages in which he would have sought a marabout to “cast a spell” on the PSG striker, which he disputes.