July 21, 2024

Common Wealth Geography

Exploring the World

The Unsettling Story of Medi Abalimba: From Footballer to Conman

Thierry Henry’s ex-wife was also involved with Medi Abalimba, who assumed multiple fake identities, including former Chelsea star Gael Kakuta, and swindled his way into a luxurious lifestyle and money. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Abalimba played football for the National League side Oldham Athletic but failed to make it to higher divisions. He impersonated Gael Kakuta, staying in extravagant hotels and helicopters, despite earning only £300 per week. After admitting to 12 charges of fraud, he was imprisoned for four years. Upon release, he dated Love Island star Georgia Steel under the alias ‘Miguel Johnson,’ but was later sentenced to 23 months in prison for defrauding her. While in jail, he falsely claimed to be a US Navy SEAL to Thierry Henry’s ex-wife, Claire Merry, and they spent time together in luxurious hotels before she realized she was also a victim of his fraud. In 2021, he was sentenced to prison again. Thierry Henry and Claire Merry got married in 2003 but divorced in 2008, with Merry receiving £8 million in their divorce settlement. She disclosed that Henry was involved with other women during their marriage.