Chinese TV host who sparked Fan Bingbing tax probe goes missing after accusing Shanghai police of fraud
Officers from economic crime investigation department pocketed hundreds of thousands of yuan in cash gifts, Cui Yongyuan says
The Chinese television presenter whose allegations sparked the Fan Bingbing tax evasion scandal has apparently disappeared after making fresh claims about corruption within the Shanghai police authority.
Cui Yongyuan said on social media on Sunday that the city’s police and celebrities from the world of entertainment were involved in a “huge fraud”.
While he did not name any stars, he accused officers from Shanghai’s economic crime investigation department (ECID) of accepting hundreds of thousands of yuan in cash gifts, as well as drinking 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) bottles of wine and smoking 100 yuan a packet cigarettes.
In a rare public response, Shanghai police on Wednesday urged Cui to get in touch, claiming it had been unable to locate him since he made the allegations.
“[We] hope that he volunteers to contact the police and support our investigation,” it said. “Once the problem he raised is proved to be true, we will handle it firmly in line with the law.”
In the original post on Weibo – China’s Twitter-like platform – Cui said he had been investigated by tax officials and police as part of the inquiry into Fan, whom he had accused of tax evasion in May.
“I know that the cause was Air Strike [a film in which Fan starred]. Those who participated in this huge fraud include celebrities from the entertainment field as well as police officers from Shanghai ECID,” he said.
All of the companies he had worked for and all of his former assistants had been investigated, he said.
In their initial response to the Weibo post, the police said Cui should contact them or the State Administration of Taxation.
The television host responded by saying: “As for your internal problem, you can start with probing the deputy head of Changning district’s economic crime investigation department, Peng Fen, whose son’s name is Peng Mingda.”
In its statement on Wednesday, the police said a special team had been set up to investigate Cui’s allegations.
Fan, who is China’s highest paid actress, was found to have evaded tax by using dual “yin-yang” contracts to mislead the authorities about how much she had been paid for her role in Air Strike.
She was detained and subsequently ordered to pay almost 884 million yuan in fines and back taxes. Several reports on social media on Sunday said she had now settled those debts.
In his latest post, Cui also accused Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Media Corp of using spurious contracts help actors evade tax. The company denied all the allegations saying that all of its contracts were drawn up in accordance with the law.