Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

China orders Fan Bingbing to pay massive tax fine

AP, BEIJING

Actress Fan Bingbing attends a screening of Ash Is Purest White at the Cannes Film Festival on May 11 in Cannes, France.

Photo: Reuters

Chinese tax authorities have ordered X-Men star Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) and the companies she represents to pay taxes and penalties totaling US$130 million, ending speculation over the fate of one of the nation’s highest-profile entertainers three months after she disappeared from public view.

Of the total amount, Fan is being personally fined about US$70 million for tax evasion, according to an announcement yesterday by Xinhua news agency, citing tax authorities.

Fan would not be investigated for criminal responsibility for tax evasion as long as the taxes, fines and late fees are paid on time, the report said.

The announcement gave no indication of Fan’s whereabouts, but indicated that her agent is being held by police for allegedly obstructing the investigation.

Fan has starred in dozens of movies and TV series in China and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Before her disappearance, she had been booked to star with Penelope Cruz in the Hollywood film 355. She has a role in the upcoming Bruce Willis-Adrien Brody feature Air Strike.

Fan posted an apology on Sina Weibo, saying that she accepts the authorities’ decision and would “try my best to overcome all difficulties and raise funds to pay back taxes and fines.”

“I am unworthy of the trust of the society and let down the fans who love me,” she wrote in her first update of her Sina Weibo since June 2.

Her disappearance coincided with a crackdown by authorities on high salaries for actors that can eat up much of the cost of a production.

Chinese state media said the investigation serves as a warning to anyone working in arts and entertainment.

A separate Xinhua report said that the penalties issued to Fan would promote the “sustainable and healthy development of the film and television industry, and raise social awareness on paying taxes according to the law.”

The Xinhua report said that Fan evaded 7.3 million yuan (US$1.06 million) in taxes by using a secret contract worth 20 million yuan that she signed for starring in the Chinese film Unbreakable Spirit, but instead paid taxes on a contract for only 10 million yuan.

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.

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