China orders actor Fan Bingbing to pay massive tax fine

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has disappeared from public viewMore

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.

The investigation was launched after a CCTV host accused the 37-year-old actress of having signed so-called "yin-yang contracts", wherein she would receive two separate contracts for the same film project, one of which would be reported to authorities, the other would not, thus helping her sidestep millions in taxes. Global media outlets like the New York Times and the BBC are reporting the A-list Chinese actress faces a fine of $70 million United States dollars on top of a bill of $37 million USD for back taxes.

Social media was awash with speculation over her whereabouts and whether she had been detained.

The report points out that, because this was her first offense, she will not face criminal charges, as long as the fines are paid by the deadline, which has not been officially stated.

Her wording is obviously taken from the 1943 red song and slogan "Without the Communist Party, there Would Be No New China".

"For the past few months, I have experienced pain and torture like never before", she wrote.

Of the total amount, Fan is being personally fined around €60m (£54 million) for tax evasion, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Adding to the intrigue of this mystery is the AP's note that Fan's agent is being held by police for allegedly obstructing the investigation.

Bingbing, whose career has spanned decades in China, is best known to USA audiences for her role in the 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past with Hugh Jackman and Peter Dinklage.

Fan is known as China's highest-paid actor, with an income of 300 million yuan in 2017.

"I know I've let down the country, betrayed society's trust in me, and let down my fans".

But her star has dimmed among authorities in China.

FILE PHOTO: 71st Cannes Film Festival - Photocall for the film "355" - Cannes, France May 10, 2018. She is one of five leading worldwide female actors cast in the forthcoming Hollywood spy thriller 355, alongside Jessica Chastain and Penelope Cruz.

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 targeting of Fan was seen as a warning with authorities launching an effort to recover back taxes from others in the entertainment industry.

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