Johnny Depp’s extended legal battle with his money managers has gotten a fresh wrinkle, one reportedly planted by Depp’s legal team. The IRS, SEC, and Department of Justice are investigating the Management Group’s operations, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources told the paper that federal investigators are looking into “possible fraud and money laundering by the Management Group,” the business management firm operated by Joel and Rob Mandel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, TMG has not been contacted by any of the agencies which are said to be conducting a probe. When reached by THR, the agencies either declined to comment or did not reply.
So what does Depp have to do with this? Sources told THR that the actor’s lawyers’ case was “shopped around” to multiple federal agencies before news of the probe was leaked to the Journal. Since the beginning of this year, Depp has been involved in a protracted legal battle with TMG: He’s alleging they mishandled his money and is suing them for $25 million; they say he was aware his spending was out of control and are countersuing. “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,” TMG attorney Michael Kump said in a statement on Tuesday. “TMG will vigorously defend and defeat all of Depp’s fabricated claims.”