China's highest-earning actress Fan Bingbing, who disappeared from public view three months ago, has been released from secret detention and ordered to pay USD 130 million for tax evasion, according to media reports on Wednesday.
Fan Bingbing, 37, disappeared from the public eye in June and her once active social media presence went silent after allegations emerged that she had evaded taxes on a lucrative movie shoot.
Fan, 37, whose mysterious disappearance made world headlines, was ordered to pay taxes and fines worth hundreds of millions of yuan over tax evasion, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
While Xinhua has not made any reference to her detention, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post quoted sources as saying that she was released from “residential surveillance at a designated location”, a form of secret detention about two weeks ago after completion of investigations into her tax evasion.
She was ordered to pay nearly 892 million yuan (About USD 130 million) for tax evasion and other offences failing which her case will be referred to police, the Post report said.
Fan, who received an administrative penalty due to tax evasion for the first time and has never been subject to any criminal punishment for tax evasion, will not be pursued for criminal liability if she pays back the taxes and fines within a defined time period.
The report said her companies had underpaid a total of more than 255 million yuan of taxes, including close to 200 million yuan of tax evasion.
As a first-time offender, she would not face criminal charges if she paid all of the money by an undisclosed deadline, it said.
Fan was reportedly kept at a "holiday resort" used by investigators in a suburb in the coastal province of Jiangsu, the Post report said.
She had since been transferred to authorities in Beijing for further investigation, it said.
For her part the star posted an open apology on her social media account in Weibo akin to Twitter in China saying "I've been suffering unprecedented pain recently… I'm so ashamed of what I've done. Here, I sincerely apologise to everyone."
Also Fan's agent has been detained by the police for further investigation.
The sudden disappearance of the actress, who appeared in the X-Men and Iron Man film franchises sent shock waves in the flourishing Chinese film industry whose last year’s box office earnings amounted to USD 7.6 billion.
Her disappearance also sparked concern among her millions of fans.
Social media was full of speculation about her whereabouts and whether she had been detained at all.