Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who has been drawn into the sordid case around recently recaptured kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is ready to talk about her ties to the vaunted drug boss, but she says she won’t go to Mexico to do it.
According to her US attorney, Harland Braun, del Castillo is willing to talk about her relationship with Guzmán, “but only if quizzed on US soil,” reports AFP.
Del Castillo, 43, has US citizenship and lives in Los Angeles, which has so far hindered the Mexican government’s efforts to reach her.
“Obviously if they want to talk to her, they can come here, through the US government, and she’ll be happy to talk,” Braun told AFP.
“If the Mexican government wants to talk to her,” he added, “they can call the US government and the US government arranges it.”
Del Castillo, at the center of a Mexican money-laundering probe after she helped Hollywood star Sean Penn interview Guzmán in October, said Mexico’s government wants to “destroy her,” Univision reported in late January.
Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez has said that there were “indications” the actress may have used money from Guzmán to help finance her tequila business.
Del Castillo’s tequila even got a mention in Penn’s rambling Rolling Stone piece, which was published the day after Guzmán was apprehended.
“The flight had been just bumpy enough that each of us had taken a few swigs off a bottle of Honour tequila, a new brand that Kate is marketing,” Penn wrote.
“I have no reason to give explanations to the press. If I don’t talk its because my lawyers told me not to because the government wants to destroy me,” the actress said in a message to Univision, which published the comment on its website in late January.
Braun insisted to AFP that his client and Guzman were just in contact over a movie project and that the government’s inquest is politically motivated.
“There’s no money (involved) and the Mexican government knows that,” Braun said. “They’re just embarrassed they let (him) escape twice.”
An official for Mexico’s attorney general’s office declined to comment on del Castillo’s remarks about trying to “destroy” her, but noted that Gomez has guaranteed that the presumption of innocence will be respected.
Del Castillo’s father said in mid-January that his daughter will testify at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles, where she will present proof “she is clean.”
As the daughter of famed actor Eric del Castillo, she is considered television royalty in Mexico, with a career spanning more than 20 years and the connections to bring Guzmán’s movie to life.
For del Castillo, art imitates life, as she played merciless drug lord Teresa Mendoza in popular soap opera “La Reina del Sur,” meaning “The Queen of the South.”
According to Penn, Guzmán began plotting Hollywood fame while incarcerated in Altiplano prison.
“He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate (del Castillo),” Penn wrote.
“The same lawyer again tracked her down, this time through the Mexican equivalent of the Screen Actors Guild, and the imprisoned drug lord and the actress began to correspond in handwritten letters and BBM messages,” Penn continued in his Rolling Stone piece.
“She and Penn were going down there to talk about a movie project,” Braun told AFP. “He then makes a secret deal with the magazine to write an article and he tells a lot of people about the trip.”
“This has made her feel very betrayed,” the attorney told the AP this week.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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