Renowned French footballer Paul Pogba found himself in the spotlight once again as he faced questioning on Friday, accompanied by five acquaintances and childhood friends who are suspected of being involved in an extortion attempt against him in March 2022, according to sources familiar with the case as reported by AFP.
The Investigation Unfolds: A March 2022 Break-In
The joint questioning session, which took place at the Paris criminal court, represents the latest chapter in an ongoing investigation into a break-in that occurred at the residence of the Juventus midfielder in March 2022.
This incident is just one in a series of challenges Pogba has faced recently, including a provisional suspension for doping.
Pogba’s Harrowing Experience: The Extortion Attempt
During the break-in, two intruders held Pogba, who is 30 years old, against his will, demanding a staggering 13 million euros (equivalent to $14 million at current exchange rates).
However, accounts of the events that transpired that night vary significantly between the five men who stand accused of armed extortion and criminal conspiracy, and Paul Pogba himself.
Mathias Pogba’s Role: A Brother’s Allegations
Notably, Paul’s older brother, Mathias Pogba, was not present at the court during the questioning session.
Investigators suspect that Mathias exerted pressure on Paul over several months to meet the extortion demand, a claim that Mathias denies.
Nonetheless, Mathias was not implicated in the break-in that occurred on the night of March 19-20.
A Glimpse into Pogba’s Perspective: Trust and Betrayal
In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Paul Pogba candidly shared his thoughts: “The only people who can hurt you are the people who are close to you.
“They’re the ones who can destroy you.”
These words offer a glimpse into the complexities of the relationships at the heart of this investigation.
Unraveling the Mystery: Investigative Challenges
The investigating magistrate faces the formidable task of reconciling the disparate versions of events provided by the suspects during their questioning, as documented by AFP.
Numerous questions remain unanswered, including who was present at a dinner on the night of March 19, whether Pogba was forcibly relocated that same evening, and the circumstances surrounding his phone, which was either taken or simply powered down—a practice that some of the friends claim was a “habit.”
The Intruders and Their Motive: A Closer Look
Among the five suspects, three are childhood friends of Paul Pogba, while the remaining two are acquaintances from their neighborhood.
According to a police summary of the case, these individuals are described as “a criminal team made up of childhood friends alongside an individual with a confirmed criminal profile, Roushdane, with the aim of embezzling 13 million euros from Paul, who cut them off financially at the beginning of the year.”
All five have vehemently denied any involvement during individual questioning.
Roushdane K.’s Perspective: Claims of Victimhood
Roushdane K., one of the main suspects, asserted that he feared for his safety, portraying himself as a “victim” who had been subjected to violence due to Pogba’s failure to comply with the extortion demands.
The Doping Allegations: A Recent Setback
Notably, Pogba’s interrogation unfolded shortly after he faced provisional suspension for a doping violation.
The Italian anti-doping authority, NADO, disclosed that Pogba’s tests indicated elevated levels of testosterone.
His return to Juventus in July the previous year had been marked by limited playing time, as he had suffered a severe knee injury during pre-season.
A Complex Saga Continues
As Paul Pogba navigates these intricate legal and personal challenges, his story remains one of intrigue and uncertainty.
The outcome of the extortion investigation, combined with his doping suspension, adds layers of complexity to the life of a once-revered football icon.
The world will be watching closely as the pieces of this complex puzzle slowly fall into place.