China hits movie star Fan Bingbing with huge fines for tax evasion

China hits movie star Fan Bingbing with huge fines for tax evasion

China hits movie star Fan Bingbing with huge fines for tax evasion

X-Men star Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay taxes and fines worth almost £100 million pounds by Chinese authorities, but could escape prosecution, according to media in the country.

Of the total amount, Fan is being personally fined around $70 million United States for tax evasion, according to an announcement carried by China's official Xinhua News Agency Wednesday, citing tax authorities.

The tax authority's notice was the first official mention in months of the 37-year-old actress, who vanished from the public eye amid bubbling controversy over tax evasion and inflated contracts in China's entertainment industry. However her agent is being held on suspicion of criminal activity and the tax authorities said he obstructed their investigation, Xinhua reported. She graced the red carpet at Cannes in May and was expected to star alongside Penelope Cruz in the movie "355".

On Wednesday, the star posted an open apology on her Weibo account saying: "I've been suffering unprecedented pain recently..."

Meanwhile, South China Morning Post reports that a source close to Fan says she had been kept in detention at a "holiday resort" in Jiangsu province and has since been transfered up north to Beijing for further investigation. She reportedly underpaid more than 255 million yuan in taxes. One sentence reads, "Without the policies of the Party and the country, without the love of the people, there is no Fan Bingbing".

The investigation began over Fan's reported income from the upcoming film Air Strike starring Bruce Willis, Xinhua reported. In her first public statement since she went silent on Chinese social media on July 23, Fan Bingbing apologized for evading taxes and accepted full responsibility.

Fan in De Beers ad campaign in May 2018.   De Beers Jewellers  YouTube
Fan in De Beers ad campaign in May 2018. De Beers Jewellers YouTube

I will follow the order, try my best to overcome difficulties, raise fund, pay taxes and fines. "I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who liked me", she wrote to her 61 million followers.

In June, regulators capped star pay at 40% of a TV show's entire production budget and 70% of the total paid to all the actors in a film.

The Jiangsu provincial tax bureau delivered its judgments to Fan on Sunday, Xinhua said.

These agreements are known as "yin-yang" dual contracts - one setting out the real agreed payment terms and a second with a lower figure for the tax authorities.

Talk show host Cui Yongyuan had said in May that Fan had such an arrangement, which allegedly helps facilitate tax evasion, and revealed details that sparked a public outcry.

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