Soccer-Paris prosecutor opens judicial probe into Pogba allegations

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PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a formal judicial investigation into allegations by France midfielder Paul Pogba that he was the target of extortion attempts and threats from an organised gang, prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Friday.

The formal probe follows preliminary investigations and will look into allegations of blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy, Beccuau said in the statement.

Pogba, 29, has been the target of extortion by childhood friends since March and paid 100,000 euros ($99,510.00) to that group in the spring, a source close to the preliminary investigation told Reuters on Wednesday.

Pogba, who rejoined Juventus in July after leaving Manchester United, released a statement on Sunday saying he is the victim of extortion attempts and threats from an organised gang and that authorities in Italy and France are investigating the matter.

The French prosecutor told Reuters on Monday that the initial investigations had been entrusted to the OCLCO, a unit within the judicial police tasked with investigating organised crime.

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(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Ken Ferris)