Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's attorney said his client told him actress Kate del Castillo had not received any money from him and that he would be willing to testify on her behalf.
In statements to Radio Formula, Jose Refugio Rodriguez said Guzman told him in a brief meeting at the Altiplano I maximum-security prison that Del Castillo had met with him while he was a fugitive and that they had talked about a possible film about the drug lord's life.
But the allegation that Del Castillo "received a single peso" from Guzman "is a lie," he told the station, citing the drug lord's own words.
Prosecutors are investigating whether the actress received cash from the Sinaloa cartel leader for a boutique tequila brand she represents or for a biopic of Guzman.
Last week, Mexico's Attorney General's Office ordered Del Castillo, who has lived for many years in Los Angeles and is an American citizen, to appear before prosecutors to testify as a witness about her ties to the drug lord.
That order, which would only become effective if Del Castillo sets foot on Mexican soil, was issued after the actress did not heed a request to voluntarily appear before prosecutors.
Referring to the plans for the film about the Mexican capo, Rodriguez told Radio Formula that the initial idea was for "Kate to be the lead actress" but that she refused because she said she "didn't fit the profile."
"Contacts were made with some Argentine filmmakers," and Guzman decided that Del Castillo, because of her film industry experience, "would be the one to represent him with directors .. that was how it worked," Rodriguez said.
"Joaquin was merely going to authorize ... the telling of his life story in a film, and there were other projects swirling around," but none of them involved Guzman "putting down money," he added.
Del Castillo's name surfaced in connection with Guzman on Jan. 9, a day after the drug lord was recaptured, when Rolling Stone magazine published an interview that American actor Sean Penn conducted with the drug lord in northwestern Mexico while he was a fugitive.
Penn said Del Castillo, who is best known for her lead role in the Spanish-language telenovela "La Reina del Sur" (The Queen of the South), arranged the meeting.
In 2012, the actress had posted a message on Twitter expressing disgust with Mexico's government and urging the drug lord to use his power and influence for the good of the country.
Eventually Del Castillo and "El Chapo" Guzman got into contact and began exchanging text messages or communicating via his attorneys.
Mexican authorities say Guzman's contacts with the movie stars helped them determine the whereabouts of the world's most-wanted drug trafficker, although Penn denies that claim.
Mexican security forces recaptured the fugitive on Jan. 8 in his native state of Sinaloa, nearly six months after his escape from a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City.
Guzman fled Altiplano I last July 11, using a nearly mile-long tunnel that authorities say was built at great expense.
The Sinaloa cartel leader had earlier busted out of a Mexican prison in 2001 and evaded authorities for more than 13 years before being recaptured on Feb. 22, 2014, in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan.