Mexican prosecutors have formally asked actress Kate del Castillo to testify about her links with drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
The Mexican-American star has come under scrutiny since it was revealed last week that she exchanged affectionate text messages with Guzman and brokered a meeting between the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel and US actor Sean Penn.
After the interview with Guzman at his Mexican jungle hideout in October, journalists criticised the ethics behind Penn’s Rolling Stone magazine article, a meeting that authorities said played a role in the drug kingpin’s arrest three months later.
Officials say Guzman was infatuated with the actress and his desire to see her again contributed to his downfall after six months on the run.
An official at Mexico’s attorney-general’s office that the request for del Castillo to testify was sent over the weekend.
Since del Castillo lives in Los Angeles, Attorney-General Arely Gomez said the actress could give her testimony to investigators at the Mexican consulate in the California city.
Officials said investigators wanted to speak to Penn and del Castillo about their meeting with Guzman, but only the actress had been formally approached.
A Mexican newspaper published alleged text messages between del Castillo and Guzman’s attorney, Andres Granados, in which they appeared to discuss the possibility of the drug lord investing in her tequila company, Honor del Castillo.
A Federal Government official confirmed the authenticity of the text messages written in April and July, before Guzman escaped from prison on July 11.
Mexican law considers financial transactions with illegally-acquired funds as constituting money laundering.
The US Treasury Department forbids US citizens and companies from conducting financial transactions with designated drug suspects.
Last week, another set of text messages that was leaked to the media showed that Guzman and del Castillo exchanged warm messages between September and November last year.
Del Castillo, 43, is also famous for her role as a drug lord in the Spanish-language television program Queen of the South, replied on Twitter that the reports about her “aren’t truthful”.
Guzman, 58, was recaptured in a military raid on January 8 in his home state of Sinaloa.
Authorities said the discovery of Guzman’s meeting with the actors in October, subsequent military operations in his mountain stronghold and the drug lord’s desire to see del Castillo again contributed to his arrest.
Officials said investigators monitored Penn and del Castillo, taking photographs of the actors when they landed in Mexico, before their get-together with Guzman.