Australia’s deputy prime minister has warned Johnny Depp could face perjury charges in the “terriergate” saga.
In 2015 the actor and his then-wife Amber Heard brought Pistol and Boo, their two Yorkshire terriers, into Australia, but failed to declare them to the country’s customs.
The so-called “war on terrier” was sparked when Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s deputy prime minister, threatened to have the dogs killed unless they “bugger back off to the United States”.
Depp responded in the row by calling the politician a “sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia”, but they had the dogs flown out of the country hours before a deadline set by the government.
The couple later issued a bizarre apology video which was widely mocked.
Heard was handed a $1,000 (£541) fine after pleading guilty to providing a false immigration document which failed to declare her dogs.
The actress had two other, more serious charges of illegally importing the terriers into the country dismissed.
The couple, who finalised their divorce earlier this year, claimed to have been unaware they were breaking any laws and said they thought their “staff had obtained the necessary paperwork”.
But now Depp’s former business managers, The Management Group, have filed legal documents in a separate case alleging the actor “falsely claimed to authorities and public press interviews that the incident was a big misunderstanding” – and pressured his long-term employees to “take the fall”.
Responding to the claim, Mr Joyce said he “might have to look at this”.
“If the allegation is correct, there is a word for that – it is called perjury,” he told ABC News.
“That is another question that, if that was true, Mr Depp would have to answer for.
“We’re an island continent and we take biosecurity very seriously and it doesn’t matter if you think that you’re Mr Who’s Who of Hollywood, you’re going to obey our laws,” added Mr Joyce, who is also agricultural minister and often seen wearing cowboy hats.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saw the lighter side, quipping to a Sydney radio station: “I wouldn’t want to come between Johnny and Barnaby… sort of the pirate meets the cowboy.
“Maybe they could make a movie together,” he added.