Sports

ex-professional footballer pretended to be Chelsea star to trick bar, hotels and limo firm into letting him spend tens of thousands of pounds

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  • Medi Abalimba, 24, claimed he was Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta
  • He duped staff into running up a £25,000 tab in a West End Club in London
  • He earned £4,000 a week at Derby but injury plagued his career
  • Abalimba was caught after attempting to buy clothing worth over £20,000
Abalimba was caught after he attempted to buy clothing worth more than £20,000 from a store at the Trafford Centre near Manchester on a dodgy credit card only for staff to become suspicious and retain the items.

A washed up former professional footballer who masqueraded as a Premier League star to maintain his celebrity life of champagne and shopping sprees is facing a ‘substantial’ stretch in jail for fraud today.

Medi Abalimba, 24, who once earned £4,000 a week and was tipped for stardom, was so ashamed at his career at top flight clubs floundering due to injury he falsely claimed to be multi-millionaire Chelsea midfielder Gael Kakuta to get drink and clothes on credit.

During one incident he duped starstruck staff into running up a £25,000 bar tab on Cristal champagne in one West End Club in London claiming ‘he was a Premier League star and good for the money’.

He also ran up a £9,600 bill at three London luxury hotels, took a bar in Manchester for another £5,000, scrounged suites in luxury apartment complexes and spent £11,000 on limousines saying he had an American Express credit card.

Abalimba was caught after he attempted to buy clothing worth more than £20,000 from a store at the Trafford Centre near Manchester on a dodgy credit card only for staff to become suspicious and retain the items.
He claimed his one-time massive weekly wage left him with a ‘wholly unrealistic’ understanding of money.

Today at Manchester Crown Court, Abalimba, of Kings Cross, London, admitted three charges of fraud, taking a Range Rover without consent and making off without paying for £104 worth of petrol.

Nearly all the offences involved him making false representations that he was Gael Kakuta. He was also appearing for sentence for five other counts of similar frauds in London and Derby in which he claimed to be the former Chelsea star. He asked for 19 other offences to be considered.

Judge Robert Atherton agreed to an adjournment until later this month for the preparation of background reports but said: ‘How will a pre-sentence report assist me in a case which will inevitably be a substantial prison sentence? I’m not planning a non-custodial sentence.’

Abalimba, was born in the Congo and had begun his career as a midfielder in the youth teams of Crystal Palace and Fulham, before moving to Southend United where he was paid £1,000 a week at just 16 years old.

He attracted attention from several Premier League clubs early in his career and was given trials at Manchester United and Manchester City. At Liverpool, he played for the reserves while the then manager Rafa Benitez watched from the stands and eventually signed for Derby County in 2009 for £1.2million.

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