China's taxation authorities have fined A-list Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing more than 479 million yuan (US$70 million) over tax evasion and ordered her to pay back more than 255 million yuan in taxes, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday (Oct 3).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, China's official state news outlet Xinhua issued a report suggesting that Fan may be facing a $70 million bill for back taxes and fines stemming from an alleged tax evasion scandal in China. Chinese state media reported that tax authorities were investigating fraudulent contracts in the entertainment industry. As Fan has never been punished for tax evasion or any other crime before, she will not face criminal charges in this case. She had instead paid taxes on a contract for only 10 million yuan, Xinhua said.
Hours after the news from the tax authorities, Fan posted a letter of apology on her personal account on microblogging platform Weibo, saying she deeply regretted her actions and felt ashamed of what she had done. Xinhua said police had put a "restriction" on Fan's agent for attempting to hide and destroy evidence during the investigations in June.
The report described unpaid taxes, fines and late fees amounting to almost 900 million yuan or over $130 million. I adopted the practice of having separate contracts to evade taxes on the film Air Strike and some other projects. I have failed the support of my country, the trust of society, and the love of my devoted fans! However, fans can now breathe a sigh of relief as many have expressed worry for her.
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She said she accepted the punishment meted out by the authorities and will pay the fine.
A man surnamed Liang, who identified himself as a staff member of Fan's studio when reached by phone, refused to comment on the announcement or on Fan's location.
The official secrecy around Fan and her sudden disappearance stirred speculation in Chinese tabloids that she was banned from acting or placed under house arrest.
I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the country which nurtured me; I failed the society who trusted me; I failed the fans who loved me. Fan portrayed the character of Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Earlier this year academics at Beijing Normal University ranked Fan the lowest in a "social responsibility assessment" of Chinese film and television stars. She has turned heads at the Cannes Film Festival for years, to where fashion brands like Armani, Versace, Dior and Louis Vuitton want to dress her. Esquire's China edition named her the "Most Beautiful Woman In The Year" in 2012.