Netflix sued by Panama Papers law firm seeking to block movie release

Netflix’s “The Laundromat,” which will be available for streaming Oct. 18, details one of history’s great financial cover-ups. And its subjects, perhaps unsurprisingly, aren't thrilled.

Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, whose law firm owned the 11.5 million leaked documents that comprise the Panama Papers, are suing the streaming giant for defamation and trademark infringement and seek to prevent the movie from being released.

Netflix responded Wednesday by asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

The movie portrays events surrounding the 2015 data breach at the lawyers' firm, Mossack Fonseca, that resulted in the release of more than 11 million documents, called the Panama Papers, which shined a light on how some of the world's richest people hide their money. U.S. prosecutors said the schemes involved sham foundations and shell companies.

According to the lawsuit filed on Oct. 13, “The Laundromat” paints the duo as “poster children for money laundering and tax evasion."

The suit says Mossack and Fonseca are currently subject to an ongoing FBI investigation in New York, and they claim Netflix’s portrayal of the duo as “profiting from the death of 20 people” and “getting away with murder” will taint their upcoming trial.

The lawyers are adamant that Netflix’s “trailer and movie have clearly defamed the Plaintiffs and cast them in the false light of criminality.”

Mossack and Fonseca are also suing Netflix for the use of their now-defunct law firm’s real logo “approximately 8 times” without permission, which they argue “would cause most viewers a mental association that would be unsavory, damaging, and/or unwelcomed.”


All of this, they say, puts the lawyers and their legal status in “immediate irreparable harm” considering their pending investigation.

Four men, not including Mossack and Fonseca, were charged last year with conspiracy and tax fraud in connection with the Panama Papers.

“The Laundromat" stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas and debuted in a limited range of theaters on Sept. 27. Box office numbers are not available, but the film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 44 percent rating.

Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas in "The Laundromat." (Netflix)

Netflix declined comment.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.