Fan Bingbing, who played Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past, may be facing a very hefty fine from Chinese tax authorities.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, China's official state news outlet Xinhua issued a report suggesting that Fan may be facing a $70 million bill for back taxes and fines stemming from an alleged tax evasion scandal in China. While the $70 million is a massive fine, other reports in China have suggested that fine could be tens of millions more.
Fan is a massive star in China. The nation's highest paid actress, Fan has tens of millions of followers on the popular Sina Weibo network and is the face of many luxury endorsements in the country. However, after the allegations of tax evasion emerged, Fan disappeared from social media on July 23 and has not been seen in public since. There has been speculation that she may have been banned from acting as well, but a now-removed article in the state-run Securities Daily suggested that she was "under control" and that she would "accept the legal decision".
While the $70 million dollar fine is a staggering one, but there could be some positive to it. If Fan pays the fine in full, the actress may avoid full criminal prosecution, though it is unclear if there would be any additional requirements. In May, documents surfaced that seemed to indicate that Fan had been caught double-billing twice for the same work on a pair of as-yet-unidentified projects and paying taxes only on half of the amount she actually made.
In June, China announced that it was launching a full investigation into the country's film and television industry, specifically with regards to yin-yang contracts. The bureau for taxation wants to put an end to the practice, but they did not initially name Fan in their official statement of intent. The investigations are to be carried out by local taxation offices in the southern province of Jiangsu as well as other offices.
For now, the mystery of Fan's whereabouts as well as the possibility that she's been banned from acting has put several of her high-profile film projects into question. Time reports that an upcoming Bruce Willis movie, Unbreakable Spirit, has reportedly removed her name and likeness form promotional materials while Universal's upcoming 355, a female-ensemble thriller in which Fan was to co-star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Jessica Chastain, and Penelope Cruz, is now in question.