Fan Bingbing has reemerged online after a months-long disappearance to admit to and apologize for tax evasion. The Chinese actress issued a statement on the social media platform Weibo saying she had let her country and her fans down.
“Today I’m facing enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made,” Fan wrote. “I have failed the country, society’s support and trust, and the love of my devoted fans…I beg for everyone’s forgiveness.”
Fan was at the center of a tax evasion scandal in late May. Retired television anchor Cui Yongyuan released documents that appeared to show the actress being paid through two different contracts for work on a 2003 movie. According to The New York Times, one contract showed a salary of $1.6 million to be reported to tax authorities and another an actual payment of $7.8 million. The documents resulted in an investigation into the Chinese entertainment industry over dual contracts, also known as “ying and yang” contracts.
Fan originally denied the accusation of tax evasion. In the following months, the actress disappeared from social media and didn’t made any public appearances. Fan’s last notable public appearance was at the Cannes Film Festival. The actress’ disappearance sparked rumors of an acting ban against her.
The actress wrote in her apology that she is “ashamed and guilty” for what she did. “I lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law,” she wrote. As reported by Variety, Fan and her companies now face as much as $129 million in fines and back taxes. The fine from the Chinese government alone is estimated to cost $70 million (via Deadline). Fan vowed to pay the penalties and return in the future.
The tax evasion allegation resulted in Fan’s name being removed from posters for a new movie entitled “Unbreakable Spirit,” in which she stars opposite Bruce Willis. Fan’s role in an animated motion-capture film was reportedly edited out, and she also was terminated from her contract with German accessories brand Montblanc.