Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico probes Kate del Castillo 'business dealings' with Guzman

Kate del Castillo, Nov 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kate del Castillo is a famous film and television actress in Mexico

Mexico's Attorney General Arely Gomez has said that actress Kate del Castillo is being investigated for possible illegal business dealings with jailed drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Ms Gomez said there were indications that Guzman financed Ms Del Castillo's recently-launched tequila business.

The film star set up the meeting in October between Guzman, who was then on the run, and actor, Sean Penn.

She denies any illicit links with Guzman, who was arrested on 8 January.

Ms Del Castillo and Guzman exchanged dozens of messages before she and Sean Penn met him in northern Mexico.

Some of the messages seem to mention business deals, Ms Gomez told El Universal newspaper.

"They mention 'The order,' 'We're in business,' 'Let's go together'. There's a great deal we still need to find out," said Ms Gomez.

Last year, Kate del Castillo launched her own tequila brand, Honor del Castillo.

Ms Del Castillo would have been involved in money laundering if she had received money from Guzman for her business, explained the Attorney General.

Image copyright Rolling Stone
Image caption Mexico's Attorney General said the meeting with Sean Penn was "essential" in tracking Guzman down

On Monday, Mexican prosecutors said Kate del Castillo had been called in for questioning over her links with the notorious drug lord.

Guzman was arrested earlier this month, six months after escaping from the Altiplano high security jail.

He was captured by Mexican troops in the northern city of Los Mochis and taken back to the same jail, where he is being kept under 24-hour surveillance to prevent another escape.

Mexican authorities are considering his extradition to the United States.

Sean Penn interviewed the drug lord for US magazine Rolling Stone.

El Chapo's Hollywood dream

Mobile phone exchanges between Kate del Castillo and Guzman reveal that he initially did not know who Sean Penn was.

He seemed to be infatuated by the actress, who is famous in Mexico.

Kate del Castillo is best known for her portrayal of drug boss Teresa Mendoza in the soap opera La Reina del Sur (Queen of the South)

Guzman was planning to get Hollywood to produce a film about his life.

Kate del Castillo persuaded "El Chapo" (Shorty) that Sean Penn had the experience and connections to realise his dream.

"I don't have the means to pay for what you're doing for me," he wrote, according to transcripts obtained by El Universal newspaper.

Responding to rumours that she had become too close to Guzman, Ms Del Castillo tweeted on 13 January that she would tell her side of the story.

Image copyright Twitter

Mexican prosecutors said Kate del Castillo, who has dual American-Mexican citizenship, will be allowed to be questioned at the embassy in Los Angeles.

El Chapo Guzman was Mexico's most wanted man.

He was the founder of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which smuggled vast amounts of illegal drugs into the United States.

He is linked to other crimes, including murder and extortion.

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