BEIJING (Reuters) – China has ordered A-list movie star Fan Bingbing to pay about 884 million yuan ($129 million) in overdue taxes and fines, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, as a crackdown on tax evasion in the entertainment industry gathers momentum.
FILE PHOTO: 71st Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film “Ash Is Purest White” (Jiang hu er nv) in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Cannes, France, May 11, 2018. Fan Bingbing poses. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
The 37-year-old actor, whose June disappearance touched off wild speculation about her whereabouts, has appeared in the “X-Men” and “Iron Man” film franchises, attracting more than 62 million online followers in China.
Xinhua said an investigation by Chinese tax authorities found Fan had split her contract to evade taxes of 7.3 million yuan ($1.1 million) over payments for her role in ‘Air Strike’, a film due to be released this year.
Fan and companies she represented also evaded 248 million yuan ($36.11 million) in additional taxes, Xinhua said, but gave no details regarding this figure.
The tax bureau in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu delivered its judgment to Fan on Sunday, levying fines of more than 596 million yuan ($86.78 million) for tax evasion and assessing overdue taxes of more than 288 million yuan ($41.93 million), Xinhua said.
In a letter posted on her official account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, Fan said she fully accepted the authorities’ decision and would overcome “all difficulties” to pay the penalties.
Reuters could not immediately reach Fan or a representative to seek comment. Xinhua said police had put a “restriction” on Fan’s agent for attempting to conceal and destroy evidence during June investigations.
Fan dropped off the radar in June, amid reports that she was involved in the investigation, a vanishing act that prompted reports she had been detained.
Reuters was unable to contact Fan or her agent for comment on those reports.
On Wednesday, the South China Morning Post said Fan was released two weeks ago from “residential surveillance” at a “holiday resort” in Jiangsu used to investigate officials and transferred to authorities in Beijing for further investigation, citing unnamed sources.
Since June, China has been investigating tax evasion in its film and television industry, following reports that some of its most famous actors, Fan among them, have been accused of signing so-called “yin-yang” contracts.
The State Administration of Taxation (SAT) said companies and individuals in the industry who voluntarily “rectify their behavior” and pay back taxes evaded prior to December 31 will be exempt from administrative punishment and fines, Xinhua said.
($1=6.8680 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Yawen Chen and Martin Pollard; Editing by Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez