- The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese authorities detained the actress Fan Bingbing in what one source described as a luxury “holiday resort” while they investigated allegations of tax evasion against her.
- Fan disappeared from the public eye for three months.
- She spoke for the first time since July on Wednesday after she was fined $US129 million for signing secret contracts to avoid taxes.
The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was held under luxurious house arrest while authorities investigated her tax-evasion case earlier this year, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.
Fan was accused in May of signing secret movie contracts to avoid paying higher taxes. She disappeared from the public eye in early July, and her fans were left in the dark, as Beijing’s state media did not report on her.
Tax authorities found that Fan split her earnings into two contracts – one public and one secret – to avoid paying taxes, the state-run Xinhua News agency said on Wednesday. China also ordered her to pay 884 million yuan ($US129 million, £99 million), the BBC and Reuters reported, citing Xinhua.
The actress spoke for the first time since July on Wednesday with a social-media post in which she apologised to her fans and the Chinese government.
While Fan’s whereabouts remain unknown, the Post described sources with knowledge of the case as saying she was secretly detained until two weeks ago, when she was allowed to return to Beijing.
The Hong Kong newspaper quoted one source as saying Fan was kept in a “holiday resort” in a suburb in the coastal province of Jiangsu, whose authorities were investigating her case.
The Post’s sources referred to the detention as “residential surveillance at a designated location.”
Fan is no longer in detention but could still be summoned for further questioning, the newspaper said.
Authorities have ordered Fan to repay the money within a certain amount of time, Xinhua reported, though it did not disclose how long that would be.
Fan could avoid criminal charges if she repays the money in time, Xinhua said. But if she doesn’t, tax authorities would transfer her case to public-security officials for “handling,” the news agency said, without specifying what that would entail.
Fan was the highest-earning celebrity in China last year, having raked in 300 million yuan, or about $US45 million, according to Forbes.
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