12:38pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Johnny Depp Said to Have Brought Money Battle to Government Investigators
Johnny Depp has been in a heated battle with his former business managers for months — and now three federal agencies are looking into The Mandel Group's operations. Sources confirm the probe but assert the actor's attorneys were the ones who brought the matter to the feds' attention.
News of the probe broke Tuesday morning in The Wall Street Journal, but TMG has not yet been contacted by any of the agencies.
The actor sued TMG and its principals Joel and Robert Mandel in January, alleging the managers loaned millions to third parties without permission, failed to keep proper books, and invested his money in business ventures in which they had ownership interests, among other claims.
TMG says it did everything it could to keep Depp financially afloat, he was aware of the situation and his excessive spending and refusal to listen to advice led to his financial situation.
The IRS, Department of Justice and SEC are all looking into the claims alleged in Depp's civil suit as well as possible money laundering. The probe is in its early stages, and no charges may follow. The actor's attorneys shopped the case around to multiple agencies, according to one source close to the lawsuit.
That the probe was leaked to the WSJ could be an indication the tactical battle has reached a new stage. (The Hollywood Reporter heard similar information about the probe over the weekend.)
"In 30 years of business, no current or former client of TMG has raised any issue, other than Johnny Depp who continues to spread malicious, unfounded lies about the company," said TMG attorney Michael Kump in a Tuesday statement. "TMG will vigorously defend and defeat all of Depp's fabricated claims."
Depp's attorneys have not yet responded to multiple requests for comment on the actor's possible role in prompting an investigation. The SEC declined to comment, a DOJ rep says it does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, and the IRS has yet to reply.