Missing Chinese actress returns, faces tax evasion fines

Fan Bingbing has vanished without a trace

Fan Bingbing has vanished without a trace

X-Men star Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay taxes and fines worth almost £100 million pounds by Chinese authorities, but could escape prosecution, according to media in the country.

According to state-run news agency Xinhua, Fan has been ordered to pay nearly $130 million, after she misreported how much money she had received for certain film projects, using so-called "yin-yang contracts" to hide from the authorities her true remuneration and avoid millions of dollars in taxes.

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. If she pays the huge sum of money, she will escape criminal prosecution as it's her first offense.

Though this is the first fans have heard from her in months, it's still unclear where she actually is, and whether she is in fact being detained by Chinese authorities as many have speculated.

Fan would not be investigated for criminal responsibility for tax evasion as long as the taxes, fines and late fees amounting to almost 900 million yuan ($130 million) are paid on time, the report said.

Her disappearance is believed to be related to the May disclosure of a pair of film contracts on Weibo, China's popular social media network.

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A source close to Fan said she had been kept at a "holiday resort" used to investigate officials in a suburb in the coastal province of Jiangsu.

On Wednesday, the star posted an open apology on her Weibo account saying: "I've been suffering unprecedented pain recently..." For a long period of time, I did not uphold my responsibilities of safeguarding the interests of my country and society against my personal gain.

"I feel ashamed and guilty of my behaviour and wrongdoings".

Fan's troubles began when Cui Yongyuan, a former presenter for state-run China Central Television (CCTV), posted purported contracts online in May that suggested the actress had received under-the-table payments. "I apologise sincerely to everyone". "Without the Party and the state's great policies, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing", she wrote.

She is one of China's most influential celebrities and a year ago topped Forbes magazine's list of top Chinese celebrities with income of around 300 million yuan ($43m).

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