Bo Xilai

Zhang Ziyi files lawsuits against Apple and Next

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 12:00am

Film star Zhang Ziyi formally filed defamation lawsuits in Hong Kong and the United States yesterday against media which reported last month that she had sex with disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai for money.

In Hong Kong, Zhang has hired law firm Haldanes and senior counsel Jason Pow, renowned for handling defamation cases, for her suits against Apple Daily and Next Magazine, according to China News Service and her spokesman's Sina microblog. She is also suing a US-based Chinese language news portal, which the China News Service report said was the source of the allegations.

An earlier letter sent by Haldanes to Apple Daily, and posted on Zhang's Sina microblog, said the allegations that Zhang was under investigation, banned from leaving the mainland and had sex for money, had seriously damaged the actress' reputation and caused her considerable distress.

'Sometimes, justice might arrive late, but it will definitely arrive,' a message posted on her spokesman's microblog account said yesterday. Zhang briefly visited Hong Kong on May 30.

The reports, slammed as 'absolute libel' by Zhang, claimed she began sleeping with Bo in 2007, under an arrangement made by Xu Ming, a Dalian-based tycoon and one of Bo's close allies. They said the relationship lasted until last year. Zhang was further accused of making money from sleeping with other senior mainland officials and businessmen.

Repeated calls yesterday to Apple Daily and Next Magazine for comment were unsuccessful.

Bo was removed from his position in Chongqing in March, a month after his right-hand man Wang Lijun sought refuge at the US consulate in Chengdu. Since then Bo's wife has been formally arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo has disappeared from public view.