Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing took to social media for the first time in months Wednesday to apologise to fans and the Communist Party for tax evasion, shortly after news broke that authorities had ordered her to pay almost $130 million in back taxes and fines.
According to the Xinhua news agency, Fan is personally being fined about £54m of the total amount due for tax evasion.
Fan would not be investigated for criminal responsibility for tax evasion as long as the taxes, fines and late fees amounting to almost 900 million yuan ($130 million) are paid on time, the report said.
The government 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. The practice refers to celebrities who sign two contracts: one with their actual salary and another with a lower figure that is submitted to tax authorities.
The tax bureau in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu delivered its judgment to Ms Fan on Sunday, levying fines of more than 596 million yuan for tax evasion and assessing overdue taxes of more than 288 million yuan, Xinhua said.
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Hours after the news was made public, Fan broke her four-month-long silence on Weibo, posting an apology for her more than 63 million followers to see in which she declared that she completely accepts the results of the investigation against her and will do her best to pay back the sum, adding that she is deeply ashamed of what she had done.
Fan's office has denied ever using such contracts.
Fan's disappearance from public view sparked widespread speculation she had been detained by the authorities.
"I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who liked me", Fan reportedly said, according to translations. The statement also talks of how she's "always been interested in the arts ever since childhood" and that her success in this realm "is down to the support of my country and the people". "Without the Party and the state's great policies, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing", she wrote. I would really like to ask for everyone's forgiveness.
In September, she came in last out of a hundred stars ranked in a state-sanctioned study on the social responsibility of Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong celebrities.