China has ordered A-list movie star Fan Bingbing to pay about 884 million yuan (S$177 million) in overdue taxes and fines, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday (Oct 3), as a crackdown on tax evasion in the entertainment industry gathers momentum. If Fan pays almost 900 million yuan - amounting to $130 million in taxes, fines and late fees - she will not be investigated for criminal responsibility for tax evasion.
Xinhua said that under Chinese law Fan, as a first-time offender, would face no criminal charges if she complied with the judgment and paid all the money by an undisclosed deadline. Xinhua said she had been under investigation by tax authorities in Jiangsu province, near Shanghai but didn't provide any details on her current whereabouts.
The Chinese actress who has been missing from the public eye since June has finally posted on social media, addressing the fines and back taxes she may owe the Chinese government.
Investigations revealed that actress Fan Bingbing had split her contract to evade taxes of 7.3 million yuan over payments for her role in the film Air Strike. Over the past few months, rumors circulated that Fan had been arrested, that she had been banned from leaving China, that she had been banned from acting for three years, that her production company's offices had been emptied, and even that she had sought asylum in the United States.
Fan dropped off the radar that month, amid reports that she was involved in the investigation, a vanishing act that prompted reports she had been detained. "I have reflected on my actions". Fan was last seen in public in July when she visited a children's hospital.
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"I am unworthy of the trust of the society and let down the fans who love me", Fan wrote, promising to "try my best to overcome all difficulties and raise funds to pay back taxes and fines", according to the Associated Press.
After the news started spreading, Bingbing posted an apology on Weibo. "Here, I sincerely apologize to everyone".
Her disappearance is believed to be related to the May disclosure of a pair of film contracts on Weibo, China's popular social media network.
Earlier today, Chinese authorities put an end to much of that speculation, announcing that Fan had indeed taken advantage of "yin-yang contracts" and had been found guilty of tax fraud. I would really like to ask for everyone's forgiveness.