Netflix releases The Laundromat as judge rules for Panama Papers lawsuit transfer to LA federal court

The Panama Papers, on which The Laundromat is based, were a trove of documents leaked from the lawyers’ firm, in a data breach that shed light on how the rich hide their money.

The Associated Press October 19, 2019 10:20:17 IST
Netflix releases The Laundromat as judge rules for Panama Papers lawsuit transfer to LA federal court

Netflix on Friday released The Laundromat, a movie based on the Panama Papers, despite an attempt by two lawyers linked to the documents to stop the streaming premiere.

The movie, starring Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep, was released by the streaming platform after a limited showing in theaters.

The two lawyers, Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, filed a lawsuit against Netflix in federal court in Connecticut on Tuesday, saying the movie defamed them and could prejudice criminal cases against them.

Netflix releases The Laundromat as judge rules for Panama Papers lawsuit transfer to LA federal court

Meryl Streep in The Laundromat. YouTube

A judge on Thursday ruled there was no valid reason to file the case in Connecticut and ordered it transferred to the Los Angeles-area federal court district.

Netflix had responded on Wednesday by asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

The movie portrays events surrounding the 2015 data breach at the lawyers' firm, Mossack Fonseca, that resulted in the release of more than 11 million documents, called the Panama Papers, which shined a light on how some of the world's richest people hide their money. U.S. prosecutors said the schemes involved sham foundations and shell companies.

"The implications and innuendo converge to cast Plaintiffs in the light of mastermind criminals whose crimes include, but are not limited to, murder, bribery, money laundering and/or corruption," Stephan Seeger, an attorney for the two lawyers, wrote in the lawsuit. "Defendant's trailer and movie have clearly defamed the Plaintiffs and cast them in the false light of criminality."

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.

Four men, not including Mossack and Fonseca, were charged last year with conspiracy and tax fraud in connection with the Panama Papers.

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