An armed thug threatened to kill Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante’s agent during an argument about the star’s £32million transfer to Chelsea, it was claimed on Wednesday.
Details of the terrifying incident emerged in a data leak published by Mediapart, the French investigative news site.
‘The colossal sums of money generated by N’Golo Kante,’ prompted brothers Rachid and Houari Saadna to threaten Kante’s agent Abdelkarim Douis with death, the site reported on Wednesday.
N’Golo Kante’s agent received death threats in relation to the midfielder’s move to Chelsea
Douis had received a £4million cut of the Chelsea fee, which was paid into an account in Jersey, where Kante had also opened an offshore company.
But Rachid Saadna had also acted as Kante’s adviser in the past and demanded a share of the commission.
The argument came to a head during a meeting in the Geraniums, the housing estate in the Paris suburb of Rueil-Malmaison where Kante, a World Cup winner with France, grew up.
‘His stay in Rueil-Malmaison in March 2017 turned into a nightmare,’ Mediapart reports. ‘N’Golo Kante was surrounded by a number of men. Among them two brothers from Nanterre [another Paris suburb] who threatened to kill the player’s agent if he did not sack him.’
In a recording obtained by Mediapart, Rachid Saadna is apparently heard saying his brother Houari might well be armed and ready to shoot.
In turn, Houari Saadna is allegedly on tape arguing: ‘My brother [Rachid] got done over, he was robbed, wronged… I give you a choice. You work with a lawyer and you stop working with the other one [Karim Douis].
‘Listen, I’m not joking, either you settle the issue, or Karim Douis: I’ll take him down, full stop.’
Football Leaks report his agent Abdelkarim Douis received £4m of the £32m transfer in 2016
Abdelkarim Douis is recorded too, saying: ‘The little one [Kante] is traumatised. It’s me who will send him to the police station.’
All of those involved in the incident denied any wrongdoing to Mediapart, with Kante insisting he was not being manipulated by thugs.
In a statement released by his lawyers to Mediapart, Kante said: ‘You take me for an immature person, know that I am responsible, I make my choices freely and in conscience.’
Nouari Khiari, another member of Kante’s entourage who deals with his image rights, confirmed the story, saying he travelled to London in May 2017 to discuss the death threat with Abdelkarim Douis.
They met at a hotel in Chelsea Harbour, close to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground, in west London.
‘To my surprise, Abdelkarim Douis confirmed the facts to me,’ Khiari later told police.
He said that Douis told him that in March 2017, ‘armed people’, including Rachid and Houari Saadna, had ‘gone to the Geraniums estate in Rueil-Malmaison’, to meet Kante.
They claim that Rachid Saadna had also acted as Kante’s adviser in the past and demanded a share of the commission from that transfer when the midfielder left Leicester City for Chelsea
In his testimony, Khiari said he then received a death threat from Douis, who said he had ‘teams’ of ‘Russians and Albanians whom I pay to smoke whom I want.’
An unidentified London lawyer was at the meeting between Douis and Khiari, but he did not respond to questions from Mediapart.
Abdelkarim Douis had denied making the comments reported by Nouari Khiari, whom he described as ‘a liar’ who has ‘defrauded Kante’.
Kante met up with Mediapart on November 18 and confirmed having a ‘discussion’ with the Saadna brothers at the Geraniums in March 2017.
Saying he was not personally threatened with a gun, Kante added: ‘I find your question tendentious. I am a football professional, I do not live in a world of thugs.’
He said he had excellent relations with his agent, Abdelkarim Douis, but was trying to split up with Nouari Khiari, his image rights agent.
Kante is known for being one of the most gentle and kind footballers in the world.
He is a devout Muslim who has been known to donate hundreds of thousands of pounds to charity every year.
He was brought up in a family of Malian immigrants in France, and moved to England in 2015, where he won the Premiership title with Leicester City in his only season with the club.
Kante moved to Chelsea the following season,where he helped win the Premiership again, and last year he was a key member of the France side that lifted the World Cup in Moscow.