A Stamford lawyer has filed a suit against Netflix over the portrayal of a pair of real-life attorneys in “The Laundromat,” a movie based on the Panama Papers that bows on the streaming service tomorrow.
The defamation suit was filed in Connecticut federal court by Stephan Seeger on behalf of his clients, Panamanian lawyers Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, who are portrayed in the Steven Soderbergh movie by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.
Mossack and Fonseca contend that the movie is defamatory because it makes them the central villains of the story, and that it infringes on their copyright because it uses their law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co.’s logo. That firm announced it was closing in March 2018 in the fallout of the Panama Papers scandal.
According to the suit, the film shows “clips of people connected to (the firm’s) offshore accounts and/or purported clients exclaim ‘shit’ and/or other expletives in different languages, including an English-speaking lady at a bar, a gentleman dressed in garb resembling a Sheik, two Russian gangsters, and the wife of a Chinese politician driving by some soldiers. The viewer is meant to associate Mossack and Fonseca with these tax evading, money laundering, and otherwise criminal ‘culprits.’”
Leaked anonymously in 2016, the 11.5 million “Panama Papers” documents link the offshore law firm to numerous wealthy individuals and officials who used accounts and shell companies to shelter billions from taxes, in some cases via alleged fraud and the evasion of taxes and international sanctions.
Mossack and Fonseca are under federal indictment.
Prior to its release on Netflix, “The Laundromat” opened in a few theaters around the country on Sept. 27. It has received mostly mediocre reviews.