Gregory van der Wiel claims he was defruaded of $4.5m in business deal
Gregory van der Wiel says he was swindled out of $4.5 million after moving to Fenerbahce from PSG last season.
The Netherlands international, who has struggled to make an impact after transitioning from Ligue 1 to the Turkish Super Lig, now says he has been juggling his footballing commitments with battling a fraud case.
Van der Wiel claims he was the victim of fraud at the hands of a businessman that took millions from him and then tried to extort a further $600,000.
"One month after I arrived in Turkey, I met Umit Akbulut, a businessman," Van der Wiel told Hurriyet. "He offered me a business offer. I trusted him.
"He wanted to earn money for us in four months. He said he would bring Justin Bieber over and other promises which did not materialise.
"I then asked him what happened to our companies. He said: 'Give me $600,000 and forget the money. Don't try any funny business in Turkey.'
"He scammed me! This has affected my football career and my personal life. I have now put my faith in the Turkish justice system to right this wrong and compensate my damages."
Akbulut, who runs the the B4L Event company, denied the accusations and shared video clips on Instagram supporting his case, including one showing Van der Wiel signing a contract with him. A video of Floyd Mayweather welcoming Wiel to the B4L family was also shared on his social media page.
Akbulut says Wiel came to him with a business proposition to promote his brand and that they reached an agreement for $4.2 million.
"Gregory had already seen my work, I have been promoting Lukas Podolski's business and got Mayweather to support the brand on his last trip to Turkey," Akbulut said. "When Gregory first came to Turkey, he had some trouble with the club.
"He asked me to promote his brand and I arranged a meeting between him and Floyd Mayweather's manager. They reached an agreement for around $4.2 million. He was supposed to go to three different countries, Netherlands, Germany and Turkey for the promotion. Floyd shot a special video for him also which has not been shown yet.
"There were some political tension between Turkey and Netherlands, so we decided to postpone that tour. That's when Gregory started to ask for his money back.
"We are talking about one of the most highly paid sportsmen in the world; working with him does not come cheap. They did a video together, but Gregory is claiming he gave money and got nothing back. These claims are completely false.
"He said he got himself into debt and that he needed the money back. I said, 'We can change the date but we can't give you your money back because this is how the showbiz is!'
"The courts will now decide what happens; he has not spoken to me for the last two months."
B4L was was founded in 2012 by Akbulut and former Sheffield United forward Colin Kazim Richards. Akbulut also says Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba are also his partners, along with the London-born Turkish international.
The events company brings popular football, sports and music stars to Istanbul.
Wiel, who is represented by Mino Raiola, currently earns $2.4 million per season at Fenerbahce and has another three years remaining on his current contract.
The 29-year-old has one assist in 17 appearances for the Yellow Canaries in all competitions this season.
Eren Sarigul covers Turkish football for ESPN and Turkish-football.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ErenvanBasten.