UPDATED, 7 AM: Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has apologized for evading taxes, saying she is “deeply ashamed” and “totally accepts” the tax authorities’ $70 million fine. Fan broke her silence Wednesday on microblogging site Weibo and reported by several media outlets, with a confirmation with the financial accusations against her as well as an apology to “society, my friends, the public, and the country’s tax authority.” She said she had “endured an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection….I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!”
PREVIOUSLY, 8:02 PM: Fan Bingbing, the superstar Chinese actress who has been AWOL from public view since June amid rumors of tax evasion, faces a $70 million government fine, state-run media outlet Xinhua said today. The report cites China’s taxation authorities.
The Middle Kingdom’s highest-paid actress disappeared without a trace, and speculation had been building for weeks that it might be linked to a tax-evasion case. A clue to her whereabouts came on September 6, when an article in Securities Daily, part of China’s state-run media, said she had been brought “under control and about to receive legal judgment.” The article then was deleted.
Fan’s purported problems began when alleged copies of a film contract she had signed were leaked onto China’s social media in late May.
Since then, the government has been mum about the actress, who is known to American audiences for her roles the X-Men franchise and other films and has been a regular on international red carpets. Her disappearance had called into question her casting in director Simon Kinberg’s hot Cannes spy thriller 355 — also starring Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o — among other films.
At least one major local film’s release has been postponed indefinitely amid the ongoing situation.