Actress 'will not go' to Mexico to be quizzed on 'El Chapo'
MEXICO CITY - Agence France-Presse
A woman reads La Jornada newspaper in Mexico City, on January 10, 2016 which shows a picture of drug lord Joaquin Guzman, aka "El Chapo" (R), shaking hands with US actor Sean Penn. AFP PhotoActress Kate del Castillo is ready to answer questions about her links to drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, but only if quizzed on US soil, her attorney said on Feb. 4.
Del Castillo has been in the spotlight since it was revealed that she arranged a meeting between Guzman and US actor Sean Penn in October, three months before the Sinaloa drug cartel leader's capture.
The 43-year-old actress has dual US-Mexican citizenship and lives in Los Angeles, complicating Mexican attempts to compel her to testify.
"Obviously if they want to talk to her, they can come here, through the US government, and she'll be happy to talk," Harland Braun, del Castillo's US attorney, told AFP.
"If the Mexican government wants to talk to her, they can call the US government and the US government arranges it."
Braun was reacting to an order issued earlier by Mexican prosecutors to locate and question the actress over her links with Guzman.
Authorities want to haul her in as a witness after she ignored a request to appear voluntarily, Attorney General Arely Gomez told reporters on Feb. 4.
The attorney general's office is investigating whether Guzman invested in del Castillo's tequila brand. A financial transaction involving illicitly obtained money would amount to money laundering.
Braun, however, said the drug kingpin had never invested in the tequila brand and that his client and Guzman were in contact over a movie project.
"He just wanted a picture about his life," Braun said. "There's no money (involved) and the Mexican government knows that.
"They're just embarrassed they let (him) escape twice."
Del Castillo's lawyers filed court papers in Mexico last week seeking an injunction that would block any potential arrest. A judge has to rule on her request.
Del Castillo, famous for her role as a drug lord in the TV show "La Reina del Sur" ("The Queen of the South"), has vowed to tell her side of the story, but she has yet to do so.
Braun insisted that his client had been duped by Penn, and that she had brokered the meeting with El Chapo to discuss the movie project.
He said del Castillo was unaware the actor planned to write an article about the meeting for the US magazine Rolling Stone.
"She and Penn were going down there to talk about a movie project," the attorney said. "He then makes a secret deal with the magazine to write an article and he tells a lot of people about the trip.
"That's why she feels betrayed."
"El Chapo" Guzman, who tunneled his way out of prison in July, was recaptured on January 8.