China fines Fan Bingbing in months-long tax evasion case

Fan Bingbing has not been seen in public since July following claims of tax evasion

Rumors about the star's trouble began when she went silent on China's main microblogging service Weibo, where she has more than 62 million followers.

Chinese authorities have now ordered Ms Fan and the companies she controls to pay around 883 million yuan ($129m) in taxes, fines and penalties.

According to the State Administration of Taxation and the tax bureau of Jiangsu province, where the studio Fan owns is registered, the actress and her company must pay 884 million yuan ($130 million) in fines and back taxes.

Ms Fan, who is one of the China's highest paid actors, will escape criminal charges if the fines are paid on time, said state news agency Xinhua. She said she is sorry for having "lost self-discipline in the face of monetary benefit".

It meant she reportedly only paid taxes on a contract worth £1.1m. Her full statement is as follows: "Recently I have been enduring an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection". 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 am deeply ashamed and feel guilty for what I have done, and I offer my honest apologies to everyone. "I would like to apologise to everyone for this", wrote Fan.

"Cui's allegations prompted authorities to launch an investigation into the actress" alleged "yin-yang" contracts, an illegal practice common in China's television and film industry. "I am deeply ashamed".

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Following the investigation into Fan, authorities have declared a wider crackdown on the entertainment industry, Xinhua said. As long as she pays back that amount, plus almost 600 million yuan in fines, she will avoid criminal prosecution.

One of China's most famous actors with a career spanning two decades, the 36-year-old is best known in the west for her role in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Fan is usually active on the service and posts regularly, but her last activity on the platform was in late July when she "liked" several posts, the BBC reported.

Earlier today, Chinese authorities put an end to much of that speculation, announcing that Fan had indeed taken advantage of "yin-yang contracts" and had been found guilty of tax fraud.

Since then, Ms Fan vanished from public view - no more social media updates, no more paparazzi photos and no more public appearances.

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