Fan Bingbing, China’s most famous actress, and the companies she represents have been fined for 884 million RMB in back taxes and fines (about $130 million), perhaps one of the biggest tax evasion penalties in the recent memory.
Of total amount, Fan and companies she is affiliated with were ordered to pay around $42 million in late taxes and fees and a fine of $86 million. Fan is being personally fined around $70 million for tax evasion, according to Xinhua News Agency, the state-run media.
Fan would not be investigated for criminal responsibility for tax evasion as long as the fines are paid before an undisclosed deadline as she was a first-time offender, Xinhua reports.
Fan was accused of using “yin-yang contracts” to underreport to tax authorities how much she actually received for a film project in order to avoid millions of dollars in taxes.
In her first public statement after vanishing from public view, the 37-year-old actress admitted signing into “yin-yang contracts” and offered a deep apology through a post on Weibo, the China’s equivalent of Twitter.
“As a public figure, I should have abided by laws and regulations, and been a role model in the industry and society,” she said. “I shouldn’t have lost self-restraint or become lax in managing (my companies), which led to the violation of laws, in the name of economic interests.”
Fan has dropped from public view for about four months and her disappearance has led to a lot of speculation. Many guessed that she was detained by police.
Xinhua and the tax authorities, however, gave no indication of Fan’s whereabouts in the past few months, but indicated her agent, Mou Enguang, is now in custody for obstructing the investigation and ordering employees to conceal and destroy evidence.
China’s State Administration of Taxation has announced a sweeping campaign to recover all back taxes in the entertainment industry. Those who can meet the December 31 deadline and pay all back taxes to tax authorities would be exempted from penalties, the authority said.