Lawyers depicted in ‘Panama Papers’ film sue Netflix for defamation
Two lawyers linked to the so-called Panama Papers filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against Netflix over the streaming platform’s new film which depicts the 2015 scandal that brought their law firm worldwide attention.
The lawsuit, filed by lawyers Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, asks a federal judge in Connecticut to stop the upcoming release of "The Laundromat," which they say defames them as criminal masterminds and may affect criminal cases against them.
The lawsuit says Netflix is releasing the movie at a time when Mossack and Fonseca are defending themselves against criminal charges in Panama and are subjects of an FBI investigation. U.S. authorities have alleged the Mossack Fonseca law firm conspired to circumvent federal laws to maintain the wealth of its clients and conceal tax dollars owed to the IRS.
"The Laundromat" portrays events surrounding the 2015 data breach at the firm that resulted in the release of more than 11 million documents, called the Panama Papers. The documents revealed how some of the world's richest people hide their money. U.S. prosecutors said the schemes involved sham foundations and shell companies.
Mossack and Fonseca said the movie could taint the U.S. investigation and deprive them of their fair trial rights. They also said it could subject them to increased scrutiny by Panamanian authorities.
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The repercussions of the leaks were far-ranging, prompting the resignation of the prime minister of Iceland and bringing scrutiny to the leaders of Argentina and Ukraine, Chinese politicians and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.
On Wednesday, Netflix asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit. The company did not address the two lawyers' allegations of defamation in its motion to dismiss. Netflix did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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"The Laundromat," starring Gary Oldman as Mossack and Antonio Banderas as Fonseca is scheduled for release on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.