Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is under police protection in Turin, according to reports in his native France, Daily Mail reports.
Pogba was allegedly the victim of a violent extortion plot by criminals, involving his brother, with the group said to have demanded up to £11.3million from the Juventus midfielder.
With his brother, Mathias, having been charged in relation to the crimes, it has now been reported by Le Parisien (via Football-Italia) that Pogba is under police protection in Turin.
The report claims that a member of the player’s entourage has confirmed the presence of police around the player currently in the Italian city.
Four other individuals have also been charged with offences, judicial sources told news agencies Reuters and Agence France-Presse.
Earlier this month the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a judicial probe into allegations by Paul Pogba that he was the target of extortion attempts and threats from an organised gang.
The 29-year-old Juventus midfielder told the Paris prosecution office that he had been the target of extortion by childhood friends since March and had paid £85,000 to that group in the spring, judicial sources told Reuters this month.
The group is also said to have threatened the player in Manchester in March as well as in Turin in the summer.
It has also been alleged that Pogba was taken to an apartment in Paris where he was threatened and accused of not providing those close him with enough money since he became an established professional footballer.
Franceinfo radio claimed that the group, armed with MI6 assault rifles, demanded £11million from the French midfielder for ‘protection services’ stretching back 13 years.
The saga began last month when Mathias released a video on social media, saying he would soon expose a series of ‘great revelations’ about the France international.
He said during the video: “The French, English, Italian and Spanish public, as well as my brother’s fans — and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother’s teammates and his sponsors — deserve to know certain things.
“In order to make an informed decision if he deserves the admiration, respect and love of the public.
“Whether he deserves his place in the French team and the honour of playing in the World Cup. If he deserves to be a starter at Juventus. If he is a trustworthy person, that any player would want to have at his side.”
His lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, insisted his client was innocent, telling BFMTV, a French broadcaster: “We are going to challenge this decision.”
Pogba responded to the initial video by his brother by releasing a statement signed by his mother Yeo Moriba and current agent Rafaela Pimenta as well as his lawyers.
It read: “They (the videos) are in addition to threats and extortion attempts by an organised gang against Paul Pogba.
“The competent bodies in Italy and France were informed a month ago and there will be no further comments in relation to the ongoing investigation.”