Hollywood actor Sean Penn, who visited Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman -- popularly known as El Chapo, months before the latter's arrest last week, has been accused by the criminal's lawyer of having lied in his article that was carried in the Rolling Stone magazine.
Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman's lawyer, has demanded that Penn be called to testify, claiming that the actor's mention of El Chapo as the biggest trafficker of drugs in the world "complicated" the case of the defense, Reuters reported.
Penn, who claimed to have met Guzman in the latter's hideout in a Mexican jungle, cited the druglord as saying that he supplied "more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world," in the article.
Badillo, who has represented Guzman since 1993, maintained that he would never make a self-incriminating statement like that.
"He (Guzman) could not have made these claims... Mr Guzman is a very serious man, very intelligent. Its a lie, absurd speculation from Mr Penn," Guzman's lawyers told Reuters.
"In a way, yes, it does complicate it (his defense). Mr Penn should be called to testify to respond about the stupidities he has said," Badillo said.
Chapo was arrested on 8 January in a police raid in his home state of Sinaloa, and Mexican authorities have said that his meeting with Sean Penn was "essential" in recapturing the criminal six months after he had escaped from a high-security prison.
Penn had mentioned in his article that he had sensed he was being watched when he made the trip to Mexico and met El Chapo accompanied by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.
"There is no question in my mind but that the DEA and the Mexican government are tracking our movements...I see no spying eyes, but I assume they are there," Penn had written.
Badillo also rubbished reports in Mexican media of an alleged relationship between Guzman and Kate del Castillo.
Mexico is not directly investigating Penn or Del Castillo for their meeting with Guzman, and is only looking into the circumstances of the meeting, the government spokesperson said this week.
Guzman had told Penn in a video clip, which was sent to the actor days after his visit, that he had been involved in the drug business since he was 15.
"From the time I was 15 and after, where I come from, which is the municipality of Badiraguato, I was raised in a ranch named La Tuna, in that area, and up until today, there are no job opportunities. The only way to have money to buy food, to survive, is to grow poppy, marijuana, and at that age, I began to grow it, to cultivate it and to sell it," El Chapo had said.
The Mexican criminal is also heard saying that he is aware that "drugs destroy", but said "there was no other way to survive".