Actress Kate del Castillo Suing Former Mexican Gov't for $60M Over "Political Persecution"

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Kate del Castillo

The 'Queen of the South' star, who famously brokered Sean Penn's 'Rolling Stone' interview with Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo, claims she later became a victim of an illegal government probe.

Mexican TV actress Kate del Castillo is suing Mexico's former government for $60 million in moral and material damages for an "unjustified" investigation over money laundering allegations.

Prior to Penn's infamous Rolling Stone interview, del Castillo had been planning to make a film or TV series about El Chapo. However, after the drug capo's 2016 arrest, the project was put on hold. Soon thereafter, federal authorities claimed there were "indications" that del Castillo had received illicit funds from the Sinaloa cartel boss to finance the project, as well as her tequila brand possibly. However, no charges were ever brought against her.

Sitting at a Mexico City news conference on Thursday, flanked by her lawyers, del Castillo accused the administration of former President Enrique Pena Nieto of damaging her reputation after it allegedly leaked false information regarding her personal and business relationship with El Chapo. As a result of the ensuing negative press, del Castillo said she lost acting work and other business opportunities.

During the lengthy investigation, del Castillo was forced to live abroad for several years out of fear that the government might illegally detain her if she returned to Mexico.

However, after sensing a more tolerant political climate under Mexico's newly elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec. 1, del Castillo was finally able to return home to Mexico City this week. Often choking back tears, she called the investigation "a smoke screen to divert attention away from the country's real problems, such as corruption."

She then told reporters that she felt betrayed by Penn. Citing a prosecutor's statement during El Chapo's ongoing trial in New York, del Castillo said Penn "apparently helped in the location and detention" of Guzman.

"I was not aware of that situation, and that is why I have always referred to it as betrayal," she said.

Penn has denied allegations that he helped lead authorities to Guzman.

Kate del Castillo added that she now has no interest in pursuing a film or TV project about El Chapo.