An X-Men star who vanished in China was embroiled in a legal battle over claims she was the mistress of one of the Communist Party’s most powerful men, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Fan Bingbing, 37, has not been seen in public for nearly three months since being accused online of pocketing illegal multi-million pound payments during an investigation into corruption in China’s movie industry.
Although Chinese officials have remained silent over her whereabouts, a report appeared briefly on a state-run newspaper website saying that the actress had been brought ‘under control’ and was ‘about to receive legal judgment’.
Fan Bingbing (pictured) in her role as Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Fan’s disappearance has generated huge speculation in China. She is the country’s most famous movie star, with 63 million followers on social media and an estimated £75 million fortune.
In a new twist, publicly available court papers seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal that at the time of her disappearance in June the actress was pursuing a lawsuit in the US over allegations that she had had an affair with China’s Vice President Wang Qishan.
Wang – labelled China’s most feared man – is President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man and led his anti-corruption campaign, which saw thousands of officials detained and jailed, many of them political rivals of Xi.
The lawsuit, signed by Fan, was filed in respect of online videos posted by exiled billionaire Guo Wengui last year claiming that 70-year-old Wang had a long-term affair with her involving liaisons in a luxury Beijing hotel suite.
In the catalogue of allegations, Guo – who fled China over corruption allegations in 2014 and is seeking political asylum in the US – claimed Fan used her relationship with Wang to pocket bribes in return for getting permission for property deals.
Fan’s lawsuit against Guo describes his claims as ‘unsupported, wild, and defamatory’. It declares: ‘Ms Fan has never had any sexual relationship or adulterous affair with Mr Wang, nor has she ever participated in any bribery scheme.’
Wang Qishan (pictured), Vice President of China, is President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man
Chinese newspapers have reported that Fan is under investigation for allegedly pocketing an illegal £5.9 million tax-free fee on top of her £1.2 million official salary for just four days’ work on a movie after the contracts were leaked online.
In a phone call to The Mail on Sunday, Guo dismissed the contract allegations as a ‘smokescreen’ and said Fan’s downfall was triggered by Communist Party in-fighting.
‘Firstly, someone is trying to use Fan Bingbing to get to Wang Qishan,’ he said. ‘Secondly, somebody wants to shut Fan up.’
Guo said Fan was being detained in a hotel adjoining a military airport in Beijing which is used for interrogations. ‘She has been permitted to go home to get her personal stuff and then go back to prison,’ he said.
Guo, 51, was one of China’s richest men and has made a string of unverifiable corruption allegations against the country’s leaders since arriving in the US.
Fan’s LA-based lawyer Andrew Brettler said he had not heard from Fan or her representatives in China since April. ‘Since then I’ve just been reading the same rumours as you,’ he added.