01 Nov (US) DEFAMATION – NETFLIX PANAMA PAPERS FILM AIRS DESPITE LEGAL ACTION
Netflix has released The Laundromat, a film about the Panama Papers, despite legal action being brought in the US.
Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, lawyers from now defunct law firm Mossack Fonseca, brought legal proceedings against Netflix in Connecticut. They claim the film is defamatory of them and could prejudice any criminal investigation or case against them. They also allege infringement of Mossack Fonseca’s trademark. The film, they say, portrays them as: ‘ruthless uncaring lawyers who are involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and/or other criminal conduct.’
Mossack Fonseca was at the heart of the Panama Papers saga, after over 11 million documents from the firm were leaked online, detailing the offshore details of a number of high profile wealthy individuals.
The Laundromat stars Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep, and was directed by Steven Soderbergh. It has been made available on Netflix following a limited cinema release.
Netflix called the lawsuit a “frivolous legal stunt” aimed at censoring free speech. It said any damage to the lawyers’ reputations had been caused long before the release of the film, as a result of the publication of the Panama Papers.
A judge ruled that there was no reason for the case to proceed in Connecticut and transferred it to the Los-Angeles area federal district court. Netflix is based in California.