Chinese tax authorities have ordered X-Men actor Fan Bingbing and companies she represents to pay taxes and penalties totalling $130 million U.S., ending months of speculation over one of the country's highest-profile entertainers since she disappeared from public view three months ago.
Chinese tax authorities have now laid at least part of the mystery to rest, ruling that both Fan and companies controlled by her failed to pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes, the official Xinhua news service reported on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old actress, who appeared in the X-Men and Iron Man film franchises, sparked concern among her millions of fans when she disappeared from public view in June. As long as she pays back that amount, plus almost 600 million yuan in fines, she will avoid criminal prosecution.
Screening of the film "Ash Is Purest White" (Jiang hu er nv) in competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France, May 11, 2018. Without the great policies of the [Communist] Party and the state, without the love of the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing.
The nation's highest paid actress, Fan has tens of millions of followers on the popular Sina Weibo network and is the face of many luxury endorsements in the country. Xinhua said police had put a "restriction" on Fan's agent for attempting to hide and destroy evidence during the investigations in June.
Detention would be an extraordinary undoing of the globe-trotting actress, who recently crossed over into American cinema with roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Ironman 3.
Fan evaded 7.3 million yuan in taxes by using a secret contract worth 20 million yuan that she signed for starring in the film Air Strike, the report said. However, after the allegations of tax evasion emerged, Fan disappeared from social media on July 23 and has not been seen in public since. She was transferred to Beijing for further investigation, the Post said, citing unnamed sources.
According to a brief report on the matter from Xinhua, Fan has agreed to repay the tax owed along with any fines. Regulators capped pay for actors at 40% of a TV show's production budget and at 70% of the total paid to all performers in a film.
The Jiangsu provincial tax bureau delivered its judgments to Fan on Sunday, Xinhua said. The example refers to a reportedly common entertainment industry practice in which actors have a public contract stating an official salary and a private contract detailing actual, much higher pay.