Fraudster used Manchester City star Mahrez’s bank card on trip to Ibiza

Tom Pilgrim, PA

A 32-year-old man has admitted using a bank card belonging to Premier League footballer Riyad Mahrez on visits to a casino and a trip to Ibiza.

Mr Mahrez’s bank was forced to reimburse him £175,830 after a card the player never received was used to make purchases for hotels, with airline Jet2, at a nail salon and in restaurants.

Mohamed Sharif, of Forest Gate, east London, admitted a single count of fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court on December 9 last year, court staff confirmed.

He is due to be sentenced at the same court by Judge Laurence West-Knights QC on February 25.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed the victim of the scam was Mr Mahrez – a winger who plays for Manchester City.

In August 2017, when Mr Mahrez was playing for Leicester City, an individual called his bank requesting a replacement card, according to information provided by the CPS.

The card, from Barclays Bank, was not sent to the player’s address and Mr Mahrez did not receive it.

Transactions made with the card in August and September 2017 included meals at restaurant chain Nando’s as well as payments for hotels and at a nail salon.

It was used to make purchases on a Jet2 flight and money was spent on the Spanish island of Ibiza, including at the Nikki Beach venue.

The card’s usage was cross-referenced with CCTV at cashpoints in a Stratford shopping centre and Leicester Haymarket, which showed Sharif withdrawing money around 10 times.

Westfield shopping centre
Westfield shopping centre (Nick Ansell/PA)

The CPS said that in interview Sharif said he was not the person who called the bank claiming to be Mr Mahrez, and that he did not receive the credit card sent out, but was given it by others.

He admitted using the card in Leicester and at Aspers Casino in the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, having been given it by others, as well as on a flight to Ibiza.

His prepared statement suggested coercion in the use of the card, the CPS said.

Sharif is due to submit a fuller basis of plea outlining what he accepts as his spending.

Mr Mahrez left for Manchester City for £60 million in the summer of 2018, two years after winning the Premier League title with Leicester City.

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