FOOTBALL star Paul Pogba is reportedly under police protection in Italy after being the alleged victim of an £11 million blackmail plot.
The Juventus midfielder claims he was the victim of violent extortion attempts by a criminal gang which allegedly included his own brother, Mathias.
Le Parisien is reporting that Pogba has been placed under police protection in Turin.
The report adds that a member of his entourage confirmed the story.
Mathias Pogba turned himself in to authorities investigating the blackmail attempts.
The journeyman footballer, who lived with Riyad Mahrez before playing for Wrexham, is then said to have been placed in custody.
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The Daily Mail is reporting that he has been charged over the incident.
World Cup winner Paul made the shocking revelations relating to a trip back to his home suburb of Lagny-sur-Marne near Disneyland Paris in March.
He says he was held at gunpoint by an extortion gang — and one of the plotters was brother Mathias.
Pogba told police he was confronted by the group that included friends from his childhood and teenage years as well as two masked men armed with assault rifles.
The midfielder — married to Bolivian model Maria Zulay Salaues — then claimed he was forced to accompany them to a flat in nearby Roissy-en-Brie, where they demanded more than £11m for “protecting him”.
With the gang demanding £2.6m immediately, Paul tried to withdraw the money but his bank declined to authorise such a large amount.
Radio station France Info reported that the blackmailers had to settle for £85,000 in cash instead.
Paul has denied the claims but Mathias — who played for a string of British clubs — labelled his sibling “a so-called Muslim deep in witchcraft”.
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On the pitch, Pogba is currently sidelined after undergoing knee surgery.
However, reports suggest he could still be included in the French World Cup squad even if he has only just returned to fitness because of his “special status” in Didier Deschamps’ team.