CHINA / SOCIETY
Ex-partner of surrogacy scandal actress Zheng Shuang fined $5 million for assisting in tax evasion
Published: Oct 19, 2021 12:18 AM
Zhang Heng, ex-partner and agent of actress Zheng Shuang, was fined 32.27 million yuan ($5 million) on Monday for assisting Zheng in avoiding paying tax of over 40 million yuan. 

The Shanghai Municipal Tax Service under the State Taxation Administration discovered during the inspection of Zheng’s tax evasion case that Zhang, as her agent, was responsible for the signing of Zheng’s performing contracts for the TV series A Chinese Ghost Story in December 2018, through which he assisted Zheng in tax evasion of over 40 million yuan, according to an official statement published on Monday. 

According to the Shanghai Municipal Tax Service, Zhang and the producer of the TV series discussed the split of Zheng's salary and the way to receive it, and planned the details of the operation. Of the 160 million yuan wage, 108 million yuan was paid by the producer to Zheng's company in the form of "capital increase."

Later, in the process of payment, Zhang repeatedly called the producer for payment, concealed the sky-high pay and helped Zheng evade tax.

“Considering that Zhang was one of the whistleblowers in Zheng’s tax evasion case, he was fined 0.75 times the amount of tax evasion, totaling 32.27 million yuan,” explained the Shanghai Taxation Bureau. 

Earlier in August, Zheng was ordered to pay 299 million yuan ($46 million) in fines, taxes and penalties for tax evasion, a move which observers said was aimed at tightening tax supervision with high-income celebrities and ensuring tax fairness for society. 

Zheng Shuang (Photo source:people.com.cn)

Zheng Shuang (Photo source:people.com.cn)


 
The TV series A Chinese Ghost Story was also banned from being aired and all broadcasters and video service platforms are prohibited from inviting Zheng to shows. TV dramas Zheng acted in have been removed from major video platforms, and her accounts in Chinese social media platforms have disappeared. 

Zheng stirred up public condemnation in 2021 over her surrogacy scandal and tax evasion case. 

In April, Zhang accused Zheng of abandoning their two surrogate babies in the US and evading taxes.

Following Zheng’s tax evasion case, officials at China’s National Radio and Television Administration vowed to further crack down on abuses in the entertainment industry. 

More than 75 Chinese stars, including Deng Chao and Zhao Benshan, have since closed the private companies they registered in their name. 

Prior to Zheng, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was fined 883 million yuan in 2018 for tax evasion and other offences.
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