Chinese star Deng Lun is the latest target in China’s crackdown of financial misconduct in the entertainment industry.
The popular actor, who starred in television series Ashes Of Love, was slapped with a US$16.6 million (S$22.6 million) for tax evasion on Mar 15. According to Shanghai tax authorities, Deng Lun made false declarations through fictitious businesses to mask the nature of his income between 2019 and 2020.
He evaded personal income tax of US$7.5 million and other underpaid personal income tax of US$2.19 million.
The star is also the face of several luxury brands, including Bvlgari, Roger Vivier, L’Oreal Paris and Bally. He has also worked closely with brands such as Zegna and Gucci on certain campaigns.
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According to Chinese publication Jing Daily, L’Oreal and Roger Vivier have deleted social media posts featuring Deng. L’Oreal has also issued a statement cutting ties with the actor.
Bally and Bvlgari were slower to wipe Deng off their social media feeds, Jing Daily reported.
The actor has since issued an apology on Chinese social media platform Weibo, where he has over 40 million followers. “I accept all decisions of the tax authorities. I am willing to assume all responsibilities and consequences and continue to work hard as always. I am deeply sorry for taking up public resources during the pandemic,” he said in a statement.
Deng’s social media accounts on Weibo and Douyin, China’s short video platform, were later suspended.
A slew of Chinese stars have fallen from grace following tax evasion scandals. In August 2021, actress Zheng Shuang was slapped with a US$46.1 million fine. Top Chinese livestreamer Viya was also fined US$210 million for tax evasion in December 2021.