Ex-Derby County player Medi Abalimba failed to pay £26,000 bar bill spent on champagne
A FORMER Derby County player ordered almost £26,000 worth of champagne in a West End bar using a false bank card and then left without paying.
Southwark Crown Court heard Medi Abalimba posed as a Premiership footballer as he entertained a table of guests before getting into a “buying competition” with an adjacent table at Cirque du Soir burlesque club in Soho.
The 23-year-old bought six or seven bottles of “high-value” champagne costing £25,922 but had left a false card behind the bar.
Questioning what he had ordered at the club during the incident in June last year, Judge David Higgins said they must have been bottles of red wine or champagne, because no white wine could be worth such high sums.
He suggested the champagne be described as “high-value rather than high-quality” and said the bottles had been “ordered with some ceremony and served with some ceremony”.
Abalimba, who was a Derby County trainee between July 2010 and January 2011, admitted theft.
He will be sentenced next month.
Abalimba, who lives in Fitzrovia, London, was born in the Congo and attracted attention from several Premiership clubs early in his career.
He spent time on trial at Manchester United and Manchester City. At Liverpool, he played for the reserves while the then manager Rafa Benitez watched from the stands.
Abalimba said at the time: “He’s (Benitez) spoken to me a couple of times and he was telling me what to do.”
His much-tipped promise, however, did not result in a full contract. He has so far played most of his football in lower divisions.
After spells with Southend, Derby and Oldham Athletic, he was signed by Farnborough Town in August last year and was expected to play for the Hampshire team in the Blue Square Bet South league over the 2012-2013 season.