EXCLUSIVE: Amber Heard is under investigation for perjury in an FBI-backed probe into claims she lied to Australian officials after smuggling her Yorkshire Terriers Pistol and Boo into the country in 2015
Amber Heard is being investigated for perjury in an FBI-backed probe into claims she lied to Australian officials after smuggling her dogs into the country in 2015, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
The 35-year-old actress avoided biosecurity charges after she publicly apologized and blamed a lack of sleep for jetting into the country without the required paperwork for Yorkshire Terriers Pistol and Boo.
But Aussie authorities are revisiting the smuggling spat as a perjury investigation after fresh details dredged up at last year’s UK libel trial between Heard’s ex, Johnny Depp, and The Sun newspaper, called her explanation into question.
Depp’s former estate manager Kevin Murphy raised eyebrows Down Under when he told the London court that Heard had ordered him to lie on oath after she flew the pets into Queensland in a private jet without declaring them.
Amber Heard was charged with illegally smuggling Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country on a private jet in 2015 with ex Johnny Depp. but was let off the hook after issuing a public apology and blaming a lack of sleep. The two are pictured leaving the Southport Magistrates’ Court in the Gold Coast in April 2016
DailyMail.com can reveal Australian officials have quietly reopened the case over fresh claims of perjury after Depp’s former estate manager accused Heard of ordering him to lie under oath. Pictured: Pistol and Boo
DailyMail.com can reveal that the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment responded by quietly reopening a criminal probe and enlisting the help of the FBI to track down witnesses in the US.
One of those, Murphy, has now been interviewed at length by Australian investigators and has provided a lengthy witness statement and a trove of emails allegedly implicating Heard.
Sources close to the investigation believe she could be weeks away from being hit with charges of perjury or subornation of perjury, which involves inducing someone to provide false testimony.
Perjury carries a maximum jail term of 14 years while the latter offence can result in a seven-year stretch under the Queensland penal code.
It’s unlikely the Australian government would try to have Heard extradited, but she could nonetheless face arrest if she tried to enter the country again.
‘She could just ignore the whole thing and never go back but a huge number of movies are shot in Australia, including Aquaman, the movie for which she’s most well-known,’ dished an insider.
‘Alternatively, Amber could go back there and face her detractors. That’s often her style. It’s pretty evident by now that she’s not one for backing down in the face of legal threats.’
Heard’s version of events went unchallenged until July last year when Depp’s estate manager told the court in a written statement that he had repeatedly warned the actress about Australia’s strict animal entry rules. She is pictured holding her Yorkie pup at LAX in 2014
Heard’s Yorkshire Terriers Pistol and Boo
In a joint video apology to the court with ex Johnny Depp, Heard said she was ‘truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared’ and that ‘protecting Australia is important’
Heard was originally facing two charges of illegal importation of an animal and a possible ten-year prison sentence after she flew the two pooches into Australia in April 2015 to meet Depp, who was filming Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pistol and Boo should have been declared to customs and placed in 10-day quarantine but their arrival went undetected for several weeks until a grooming salon posted snaps of the cuddly pair to Facebook.
The spat was dubbed the ‘The War on Terrier’ by Australian media and Depp and Heard were given 72-hours to send them home or face having the dogs seized and euthanized.
Heard eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying an immigration document and accepted a fine of 10,000 Australian dollars ($7,650) after her lawyer, Jeremy Kirk, insisted the paperwork had ‘slipped through the cracks’ and that there was ‘no attempt to deceive’.
Kirk said Heard thought that her then-husband’s staff had completed the paperwork and was exhausted and suffering from sleep deprivation when she ticked the wrong box on her arrival card.
‘Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world. That is why Australia has to have such strong biosecurity laws,’ Heard said in a groveling video apology to the court, recorded jointly with Depp.
‘I’m truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.’
In dropping the more serious charges, magistrate Bernadette Callaghan accepted that Heard ‘did not set out to deceive the Australian authorities’, adding that the benefits of her public support for quarantine laws would outweigh the damage done by her mistake.
The 35-year-old actress later mocked the incident in a 2018 Instagram post of herself wrapping her dog in her coat, captioned: ‘What dog?’
Pistol and Boo should have been declared to customs and placed in 10-day quarantine but their arrival went undetected for several weeks
Heard’s version of events went unchallenged until July last year when Murphy told London’s High Court in a written statement that he had repeatedly warned the actress about Australia’s strict animal entry rules.
‘I also explained to Ms. Heard several times the fact that trying to take the dogs into Australia without completing the mandatory process was illegal and could result in very harsh penalties including euthanizing the dogs,’ said Murphy, 59.
He went on to allege that, when the smuggling controversy erupted, Heard demanded he provide a ‘false statement’ to the Australian court saying she didn’t know anything about the requirements.
‘When I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with this, Ms. Heard said to me ‘Well I want your help on this … I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’
‘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.
‘Because of this I felt extreme pressure to cooperate, despite knowing this would involve being untruthful,’ added Murphy, who worked for Depp for eight years.
The declaration was subsequently prepared for Heard by an attorney and ‘contained statements that were not entirely truthful’, his statement went on.
Murphy said that when Depp and Heard split in May 2016 he sought legal advice on attempting to voluntarily retract his statement about Pistol and Boo but he abandoned it because of the cost.
The Sun’s lawyers pushed back against his account during cross-examination, accusing him of lying and attempting to discredit Heard, who appeared as a key witness for the UK-based tabloid.
Depp’s former estate manager Kevin Murphy told the London court last year that Heard allegedly demanded he provide a ‘false statement’ to the Australian court saying she didn’t know anything about the requirements for bringing pets into the country. Heard and Depp are seen leaving court last July
Murphy confirmed to DailyMail.com this week that he had been contacted by the FBI and had agreed to provide Australian authorities with a witness statement. He declined to comment further.
Heard’s lawyer in the US, Elaine Bredehoft, dismissed suggestions that her client was facing a fresh investigation.
‘I am absolutely confident that neither the Australian Government, nor the FBI, would consider ‘reopening’ an already fully adjudicated matter years later, especially after the UK Court had fully reviewed the evidence,’ she told DailyMail.com.
However a spokesperson for the Australian government confirmed: ‘The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (department) is investigating allegations of perjury by Ms Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of (her) two dogs into Australia.
‘The department is seeking to obtain witness statements and once obtained, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will consider whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant pursuance of the matter. As the matter is ongoing, the department cannot make any further comment.’
The probe comes as Depp and Heard are preparing to square off next year in Fairfax County, Virginia, where the actor is suing his ex-wife for $50 million over a Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a domestic violence survivor.
The December 2018 article did not mention him by name but Depp, 58, claims he was axed from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise after the ‘hoax’ account led to speculation he was the abuser.
He is fighting an uphill battle to salvage his reputation after Britain’s High Court sided with The Sun at last year’s defamation trial, sparked by a different 2018 article that labeled him a ‘wife beater’.
Mr Justice Nicol ruled that The Sun’s depiction was ‘substantially true’ and that father-of-two Depp had attacked Heard a dozen times, causing her to fear for her life on three occasions before their divorce.
Heard, who had a baby girl in July via a surrogate, is counter-suing for $100 million, claiming she has been falsely labeled a liar and that her accounts of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Depp are true.