French authorities have detained the elder brother of Paul Pogba, Mathias, and three others in an investigation into the extortion alleged by the France national team and Juventus football star, sources close to the case said Wednesday.
Mathias Pogba presented himself “early afternoon to investigators and was placed in police custody”, said one of the legal sources who asked not to be named.
Among the four suspects detained in total in the probe, one was taken into custody on Tuesday and three on Wednesday, a judicial source added.
Mathias Pogba has earlier denied any involvement in extortion reported by his World Cup-winning footballer brother Paul.
Mathias’s denial in a statement issued by his lawyer, Richard Arbib, comes after he published a bizarre video online on August 27 — in four languages (French, Italian, English and Spanish) — promising “great revelations” about the Juventus star.
Paul Pogba says he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother.
According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of allegedly compromising videos.
Mathias, though, is adamant he is an innocent party.
“Taking into account how the affair has evolved and the huge media attention surrounding it, Mathias Pogba strongly insists he knows nothing about any extortion attempt against his brother, Paul Pogba,” read the statement.
“It is clear that the difficulties the Pogba family are experiencing are the result of outside threats which the justice authorities, who are already involved, will evaluate.
“Mathias Pogba, who wishes above all to calm the situation with his brother, will from now on only speak with the investigating magistrates, should it be necessary.”
Two investigating magistrates have been appointed to lead the probe, it was announced last week.
Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation launched last month , they will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy.
Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.
The investigation is handled jointly by the French police’s anti-gang and central crime units.
Several people, including Pogba’s mother, have already been interviewed by police, a judiciary source told AFP.
Landslide In Colombia Leaves 34 Dead
Heavy rains in northwest Colombia sent a wall of earth crashing onto a winding road, swallowing up a bus and other vehicles and killing 34 people, emergency services said Monday.
The landslide Sunday evening prompted a large rescue effort, with dozens of people in hard hats using backhoes and excavators to dig through the earth looking for victims.
The National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said the fatalities included eight minors and that nine other people were injured in the disaster in the remote town of Pueblo Rico.
The bus had set out from the city of Cali with 25 passengers, and traveled 270 kilometers (170 miles) before being hit by the landslide as it passed through the Andes mountain region, civil defense officials said.
Colombian media reported that a child had survived and was pulled from the arms of its mother, who did not make it.
One survivor said the bus driver had at first managed to dodge the worst of the landslide.
“Part of it was coming down and the bus was a little bit back from that. The bus driver was backing up when it all came crashing down,” Andres Ibarguen told radio station Lloro Stereo.
The rainy season that began in August is Colombia’s worst in 40 years, according to the government, causing accidents that have left more than 270 people dead.
The country has declared a national disaster over the rains linked to the exceptionally long La Nina weather phenomenon, which cools surface temperatures and is currently causing drought and flooding around the globe.
Today, the landslide “puts this town in mourning, tomorrow it could be in another area, because we really have many unstable areas in the country, and the rainy season has not ended,” said Javier Pava of the UNGRD.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization said last week the La Nina conditions could last until February or March 2023.
In Colombia, the phenomenon has also caused crop damage, compromising food supplies and leading to soaring prices.
In July, three children were killed in northwestern Colombia when a landslide buried a rural school. In February, 14 people died in a mudslide triggered by heavy rains in central-western Risaralda province.
American Entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison For Fraud
Fallen United States biotech star Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced Friday to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors with her Silicon Valley start-up firm.
The Theranos founder had been convicted on four felony fraud counts in January for persuading investors that she had developed a revolutionary medical device before the company flamed out after an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
The closely watched case became an indictment of Silicon Valley, and US federal prosecutors had sought a 15-year jail term for Holmes. She was sentenced to 135 months.
US attorney Stephanie Hinds said the sentence “reflects the audacity of her massive fraud and the staggering damage she caused.”
“For almost a decade, Elizabeth Holmes fabricated and spread elaborate falsehoods to draw in a legion of capital investors, both big and small, and her deceit caused the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars,” the prosecutor said in a statement following the judge’s decision.
Holmes, who is pregnant, will not have to surrender herself until April next year, ordered US District Judge Edward Davila in a courtroom in San Jose, California.
Holmes’s lawyer indicated she would appeal her conviction.
Moments before her sentencing, a tearful Holmes told the court, “I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos. I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work.”
She added, “I am devastated by my failings. Every day for the past years I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them.”
“I gave everything I had to building our company and trying to save our company.”
– ‘Tragedy’ –
Holmes became a star of Silicon Valley when she said her now defunct start-up was perfecting an easy-to-use test kit that could carry out a wide range of medical diagnostics with just a few drops of blood.
At the time, Holmes often dressed soberly in black turtlenecks that evoked her hero, the late Apple icon Steve Jobs.
She sold investors on the idea that her invention would disrupt medical practice, replacing expensive lab tests with her cheap kits.
But prosecutors said Holmes knew her device was not producing accurate and reliable results, yet induced dozens of investors to contribute nearly one billion dollars, all without ever achieving meaningful revenue.
Holmes’s meteoric rise and fast demise has been the subject of books, movies and a TV series that framed her story as a cautionary tale on the excesses of the tech industry that blindly followed a charismatic founder.
At one point, the Theranos board included former US Defense Secretary James Mattis and former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and the late George Shultz.
Sentencing Holmes on Friday, Davila said the case was a “tragedy” and “troubling on so many levels.”
He described Holmes as “a big thinker” who had fought to get into an industry dominated by “male ego.”
But he noted “significant evidence about manipulation and untruths that were being used in the negotiation of the business.”
“What is it that caused that? Was it hubris? Was it intoxication with the fame that comes from being a young entrepreneur?” he asked.
– ‘Amazing things’ –
After hearing her prison sentence, Holmes hugged her partner Billy Evans, who is the father of her 15-month-old son, and her mother, Noel Holmes.
Lawyers for Holmes, 38, had asked for leniency, presenting her as a devoted friend who cares for a young child and has a second child on the way.
This was backed up by 140 letters of support filed to the court, including from her family, friends and a US senator.
“I am confident that on the other side of this, Elizabeth will do amazing things for society with her talents and boundless passion for changing the world for the better,” said one letter.
That was in sharp contrast to descriptions given at her trial that painted her as an ambitious con artist who harassed her workers.
In a letter, Holmes’s aunt, who was an early investor in Theranos, called on the court to give her a tough sentence, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Prosecutors want Holmes to pay $800 million in restitution to investors that included the Walton family of Walmart, the Walgreens chain of pharmacies and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
A restitution hearing will be scheduled, although Holmes says she has no money to pay.
‘Days Of Our Lives’ Star, John Aniston Dies At 89
John Aniston, star of the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives and father of Jennifer Aniston, has died at age 89.
The Friends star posted a tribute to her father on Monday on Instagram, announcing that he had died on Friday, Veteran’s Day.
“You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” she wrote.
Photos of them together were shared with her 40 million followers.
Her tribute drew comments from many famous friends, including Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, her ex-husband Justin Theroux, and more.
The official Days of Our Lives account also posted a tribute to the talented member of their television family.