The fate of Fan Bingbing has been a bit of a mystery since she seemingly disappeared back in May. Rumors swirled that she was banned from acting, that she was arrested, and a lot more, all due to allegations of tax evasion.
Now things are a bit clearer after it’s been revealed that she has been hit with back taxes and fines for tax evasion, but seems set to escape criminal charges given she pay back a significant sum of ~$129 million.
China’s highest-earning actress Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay nearly 884 million yuan (US$129 million) for tax evasion and other offences but could escape criminal prosecution, the country’s tax authorities announced on Wednesday, over three months after the film star disappeared from public view.
The previous reports that she was detained seem at least partially true and explain the lengthy disappearance, but she’s now free.
Fan, whose disappearance has drawn global attention, was released from “residential surveillance at a designated location” – a form of secret detention – about two weeks ago and returned to Beijing as the tax authorities completed their investigation, sources with knowledge of her case told the South China Morning Post. A source said Fan had been kept in a “holiday resort” used to investigate officials, in a suburb in the coastal province of Jiangsu. Although she might still be questioned for other related investigations, according to the source, she was no longer under detention, a separate source familiar with the case said.
Of the ~884 million yuan, ~255 million yuan were underpaid taxes and ~200 million yuan of that was classified as tax evasion. The rest, about 600 million yuan, was a fine as a result of her crimes. However, as long as she pays the money back, it seems like she’ll avoid the worst of it.
The State Administration of Taxation said that as a first-time offender she would not face criminal charges if she paid all of the money by an undisclosed deadline, Xinhua reported.
For her part, Fan Bingbing issued an apology on Weibo.
#FanBingbing issues first public statement since tax scandal broke in letter of apology following conclusion of tax evasion investigation: "I'm deeply ashamed about and feel guilty for my actions." Full translation below.#范冰冰 pic.twitter.com/5WKmYX1xzD
— Trending Weibo (@TrendingWeibo) October 3, 2018
The agent of the actress might not get off so easy, as they were detained by authorities.
Meanwhile, Fan’s agent had been detained by police for further investigation for allegedly destroying or hiding accounting records, the report said.
I’m admittedly not as hip to how things work in China, but this seems like a win-win in a way. The government gets a shit-ton of money and gets to use Fan Bingbing as an example to everybody else that if they can fuck with her then they will fuck with them. However, they also avoid any potential outcry should they mysteriously imprison one of their most famous celebrities. Fan Bingbing … well, she stays out of jail. And assuming she’s allowed to work as normal, she should be fine in the long run.
Anyway, celebs definitely need to pay their taxes. It’s one of the few things governments around the world do seem to give a shit about.