Fresh off losing her defamation lawsuit to former beau Johnny Depp, actress Amber Heard faces new legal peril as authorities in Australia look to charge her with perjury over dog-smuggling accusations from 2015.
In 2015, Heard was accused with violations of the country’s strict quarantine and biosecurity laws when she failed to divulge that she had brought her Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country.
She was charged with the violations that year, but the case was closed in April of the following year when Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying travel documents, the Daily Mail reported.
However, Australian authorities re-opened the case last year with an investigation into claims that Heard perjured herself during the original case. Officials say that Heard lied about how she got the animals into the country.
Now, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has confirmed that the case is not closed, and the investigation is ongoing. Representatives for the department told ET Canada that they are “investigating allegations of perjury by Ms. Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of [her] two dogs into Australia.”
The re-opening of the case seems to have been spurred by testimony at Heard’s trial with Depp when a former Depp employee said that Heard told him to lie to Australian authorities about how the dogs were brought into the country back in 2015.
The dogs should have been declared upon landing and then placed in a ten-day quarantine. But Heard ignored the rules. The dogs were not discovered by authorities until an Aussie dog groomer posted photos of their work with the animals to social media during Heard’s visit to the country.
Heard pleaded guilty to a charge of falsifying an immigration document and paid a $7,650 fine. She told the court that the situation just “slipped through the cracks” and that she had no intentions of deceiving anyone. She said she was just “tired” when she ticked the wrong box on the entry paperwork.
But the testimony of the employee has cast that claim in doubt. Indeed, the former employee testified that he repeatedly informed Heard that bringing the dogs in undeclared was illegal.
The man added that when he told her he was uncomfortable lying to Australian authorities about the issue, Heard threatened to fire him.
“It became very apparent that Ms. Heard was threatening my job stability unless I cooperated with providing a declaration that supported her false account for the Australian proceedings,” he said, adding that he “felt extreme pressure to cooperate” with Heard’s demands.
It is unlikely that Australia would seek extradition, but if she is officially charged — or even convicted in absentia — she could be arrested the minute she steps on Australian soil.
If convicted, Heard could be sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison.
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