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Johnny Depp's ex-business managers face federal probes for fraud

  • The IRS and the Justice Department are investigating whether the Management Group committed fraud and money laundering.
  • The SEC is probing how the firm managed actor Johnny Depp's funds.
  • The investigations are the latest episodes in an ongoing legal battle between Depp and his former business managers, after the actor sued the firm for $25 million in January.
Johnny Depp
Mike Marsland | WireImage | Getty Images
Johnny Depp

The ongoing legal battle between Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and his former business managers intensifies as reports reveal that his former business managers are facing investigations from three federal agencies.

Management Group founders Joel and Rob Mandel may potentially face fraud and money laundering charges by the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department, while the Securities and Exchange Commission are probing how the firm managed Depp's funds, said people familiar with the situation, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The Management Group has not been contacted yet in regards to the probe, according to a person close to the matter.

The IRS-Justice Department probe is in its early stages, while the SEC has already subpoenaed one person in its probe, said a person familiar with the matter, according to the report. Depp's lawyers have also met with government officials, the report said.

"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 will vigorously defend and defeat all of Depp's fabricated claims," a lawyer for TMG said in a statement to CNBC.

Depp's legal battle with the firm started in January, when the "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor sued the Management Group (TMG) for $25 million alleging fraud and professional negligence. Depp claimed that the firm caused him to lose tens of millions of dollars and incur $40 million in debt.

The Mandel brothers have struck back, calling the claims "baseless" and have responded with a countersuit, claiming that Depp is responsible for his financial woes due to overspending while living a "selfish, reckless and irresponsible lifestyle" that totaled to $2 million a month.

Both suits are currently pending.

CNBC has reached out to Depp's legal representatives for comments.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.