Culture&Arts

Disappeared China star Fan ordered to pay $129m over taxes

Disappeared China star Fan ordered to pay $129m over taxes

The announcement gave no indication as to Fan's whereabouts but indicated her agent was being held by police for allegedly obstructing the investigation.

Fan appeared in the "X-Men" and "Iron Man" film franchises with more than 62 million followers online in China.

Fan and companies related to her were ordered to pay around $42 million in late taxes and fees, along with a fine of $86 million.

The move ends months of speculation over one of the country's highest-profile entertainers since she disappeared from public view three months ago. Her companies were fined 125 million yuan.

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She is one of five leading worldwide actresses cast in the forthcoming Hollywood spy thriller "355", alongside Jessica Chastain and Penelope Cruz.

Because this is her first offence, Fan, if she pays the taxes and penalties, can avoid criminal prosecution.

According to Xinhua, the investigation of Fan was sparked by her reporting of income from "Air Strike", an upcoming Chinese film starring Liu Ye and Bruce Willis about the Japanese bombings of Chongqing during World War II.

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.

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Her disappearance this summer coincided with a crackdown by the authorities on high salaries for actors that can eat up much of the cost of a production. A directive signed by five government regulatory bodies has stipulated that payments to a film's cast can not exceed more than 40% of a film's budget, and the stars can not pocket more than 70% of the money paid to all cast members.

The actress, who has not been seen in public since July and had been inactive on social media since June 23, after the allegations surfaced, on Wednesday issued a statement on Weibo, a microblogging website popular in China.

Praising the Chinese Communist Party, Fan said, "Without the good policies of the party and the state, and without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing".

She instead paid taxes on a contract for only 10 million yuan (€1.24 million), Xinhua said. "Just suffer this financial loss to be spared greater disaster; moreover, these are ill-gotten gains". The actress is believed to have been held in secrecy under surveillance at a holiday resort in the Jiangsu province. This referred to a reportedly common entertainment industry practice-an actor having a public contract stating an official salary and a private contract detailing actual, much higher pay.

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In addition to Fan's case, Chinese authorities said if other TV and film personnel and entities check themselves and make up the tax payments they've missed to the taxation department before December 31, they would be exempt from penalties.