Speaking in an exclusive interview with Le Parisien, French international midfielder Paul Pogba’s witchdoctor, identified in the media as Birame D., who has become known following the extraordinary alleged blackmail of Paul Pogba by friends and family for €7m, finally set his version of the facts straight, notably denying claims that Paul Pogba asked him to cast a spell on Kylian Mbappé and the rest of his PSG team-mates ahead of a Champions’ League knockout clash with Paul’s then team Manchester United. The Red Devils ended up being victorious over two legs, sealing the tie at the Parc des Princes.
Speaking to Le Parisien, Birame D. affirmed that this was “the first and last time” that he would be speaking to media, in a 90 minute exchange in the hall of a building he owns, in the Paris region.
“Certain people went too far with the lie,” says Birame D., referring to allegations that Paul Pogba asked him to curse Kylian Mbappé. The witchdoctor was born in Senegal, arrived in France as an adult and is a 39-year-old father.
He feels that the individual in question who has gone too far in this story is one of the individuals currently being prosecuted for “extortion via organised crime with a weapon,” and Paul Pogba’s ex-best friend, Mamadou M.
As revealed by the Journal du Dimanche over the weekend, this individual is alleged to have written: “Me, I have all the photos of the money you gave me to give to ‘Grande’ [witchdoctor]… I logged everything, it’s crazy,” the day before the kidnapping of Paul Pogba, which occurred on the night of March 19th to the morning of the 20th earlier this year, in an apartment in Seine-et-Marne, a key moment in this case of attempted extortion of funds.
Mamadou M. also wrote about the alleged curse placed on Kylian Mbappé: “Did you see what ‘Grande’ did for you at PSG with Kylian exactly? He ruined him, Kylian, for that game.”
“This whole story of witchcraft is just a pure invention,” affrims Birame, outraged at having to justify himself. “Paul never asked me to cast a spell on Kylian Mbappé, neither for this PSG vs Manchester United match, nor for any other occasion. The one and only time we spoke about Kylian was during a phone conversation during the 2018 World Cup.”
Birame seems to remember it like it was yesterday: “After the match against Argentina (4-3 victory to France), I said to Paul: ‘it’s crazy how fast the little one is.’ Paul answered me with these words: ‘Kylian, it is a gift from God to have him with us, he relieves us so much, he does us so much good.'”
Birame therefore claims to have never spoken of Kylian Mbappé again with Paul Pogba thereafter.
“Anyway, we have almost never mentioned football, upcoming matches or Paul’s professional situation,” he affirms.
But then what is the purpose of the relationship that united two men separated by 10 years in age?
Birame was evasive on the exact circumstances of their meeting: “We were put in touch through a mutual friend when Paul was still playing at Juventus and was about to join Manchester,” he recalls. It was during the 2015-2016 season. “Then we communicated from time to time by telephone and we saw each other twice in Manchester,” he continues.
Birame, a practicing Muslim like Paul Pogba, confirms that he is a ‘marabout’ or witchdoctor, but in the African and original sense of the term.
“With Paul, we talked about the Quran, the prayers that we must perform every day and spiritual subjects. I was able to make him aware of the fact that we are only passing through this planet and that the material goods accumulated during our existence will have no importance after our death. The only thing that will remain of us will be all the good things done to the people around us and to the needy.”
Birame wishes to distinguish himself from the image of the sorcerer or the “fetisher” adept in witchcraft and black magic, often attached to the term “marabout.”
His voice then trembles and his eyes appear smaller. “Paul is a generous, whole and very intelligent person. He is able to give a lot of money but not to anyone and not just anyhow. Through me and in the most absolute discretion, he bought 10 tons of rice each month for several years for a village in Senegal. He also financed systems to bring water to a school and participated in the reconstruction or renovation of several mosques.”
Showing the journalists a video, he shows the interior of a mosque equipped with brand new prayer rugs that the 2018 world champion is said to have gifted.
“During the spring 2020 lockdown, I told him about the situation of the homeless who lived at Porte de la Chapelle in Paris in very difficult conditions and he sent money for them.”
When asked, Birame refuses, however, to give figures and to confirm that the transfer of funds between Paul Pogba and the supposed beneficiaries passed through his hands.
He barely admits having been arrested once by the police, in 2019, in possession of €15,000. A sum that Pogba at the time had confirmed having paid him.
For the last few months, Birame no longer has any contact with his former “protégé” but his bitterness lies towards others.
“I am disgusted to see that people who presented themselves as being among his friends are today able to accuse him of having asked me to cast a spell on Kylian Mbappé. This all makes no sense. I have only the impression that this story of witchcraft allowed some people to forget the most important thing: Paul was kidnapped and threatened by armed men who demanded from him a payment of several million euros.”
During a hearing in early August by the police of the Central Office for the Fight against Organized Crime (OCLCO), Paul Pogba spoke of the relationship with his marabout, “a wise man” according to the testimony of Juventus midfielder: “I gave him several donations so that he could send food and other foodstuffs to Africa to help people in difficulty. Later I learned that he was a charlatan who only took the money.”
Thus disavowed, Birame responded: “In front of the police, Paul may have preferred to distance himself from me. For my part, I refuse to smear his name and I remember him as a very beautiful person.”
James Thorpe | GFFN