- The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing disappeared from the public eye in early July after being accused of tax evasion.
- A new report says she had been pursuing a defamation lawsuit against a Chinese billionaire who accused her of having an affair with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.
- The billionaire, Guo Wengui, claimed that Fan disappeared because "somebody wants to shut Fan up," not because of tax-evasion allegations.
The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing had been suing a Chinese billionaire over his allegations that she was sleeping with China's vice president when she disappeared, according to a new report.
Fan was pursuing a defamation lawsuit in the US against the billionaire, Guo Wengui, who in a series of online videos accused Fan of having an affair with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, The Mail on Sunday reported, citing court documents.
The actress, who played Blink in the 2014 film "X-Men: Days of Future Past," disappeared from the public eye in early July shortly after she was accused of tax evasion in China.
Fan's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, confirmed to Business Insider that they filed the lawsuit in New York in July 2017, but did not comment on the status of the case. He told The Mail that he hadn't heard from Fan or her representatives in China since April.
Last year, Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, published at least two videos online alleging that Fan had a long-term affair with Wang in Beijing, according to The Mail. The videos accused Fan of deriving financial benefit from the arrangement by pocketing bribes, the publication said.
Guo lives in self-imposed exile in New York's Upper East Side. He regularly posts hourlong rants against Chinese officials, including Wang, on YouTube.
Wang, 70, the eighth-highest-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party, is often described as President Xi Jinping's right-hand man and the man behind the country's massive anticorruption crackdown.
Fan's lawsuit described Guo's claims as "unsupported, wild, and defamatory," The Mail reported.
According to the newspaper, the documents also said that "Ms. Fan has never had any sexual relationship or adulterous affair with Mr. Wang, nor has she ever participated in any bribery scheme."
The veracity of Guo's claims has previously come under scrutiny. For example, he has claimed that he bought his New York apartment for $82 million when in reality he paid $67.5 million, according to The New York Times.
Guo also claimed that Fan had disappeared not because of the tax-evasion accusations - which he described to The Mail as a "smokescreen" - but because someone in the Chinese Communist Party was trying to attack Wang.
"Firstly, someone is trying to use Fan Bingbing to get to Wang Qishan," he told the newspaper. "Secondly, somebody wants to shut Fan up."
Business Insider has contacted Brettler for comment on Guo's claims.
Chinese-language publications have in the past week speculated over Fan's whereabouts.
The Chinese arm of Radio France Internationale and the movie industry site Duowei News reported over the weekend that officials in Jiangsu province were still investigating her case. Hong Kong's Apple Daily tabloid also reported that Fan had been questioned by authorities but was not allowed to leave her house.
Earlier this month, China's state-run Securities Daily reported that Fan was "under control and will accept the legal decision" that comes from the tax-evasion charges.