Zhang Ziyi, star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has been forced to deny lurid claims that she earned $100 million by prostituting herself to a string of powerful Chinese men.
Among those with whom Zhang Ziyi was alleged to have had sex for money is disgraced politician Bo Xilai, ousted from China’s powerful politburo amid allegations he and his wife were involved in the murder of Old Harrovian businessman Neil Heywood.
Zhang Ziyi, 33, one of China’s biggest film stars and a three-times BAFTA nominee, is the most prominent name to date to be dragged into the scandal over Bo Xilai.
According to reports in China, Zhang Ziyi slept with Bo Xilai at least ten times between 2007 and 2011 in exchange for “huge” monetary gifts. The secret trysts are alleged to have taken place in Beijing and to have netted the actress around $1.5 million each time.
The pair are said to have been introduced by Xu Ming, a Chinese businessman who is said to be worth $700 million but is reportedly under investigation by the Beijing government over alleged corruption.
Xu Ming, 41, has reportedly claimed to authorities that he paid Zhang Ziyi $950,000 to have sex with him for the first time in 2007 and that he later negotiated a deal for a similar liaison with Bo Xilai.
Xu Ming is said to have paid Zhang Ziyi a total of $28 million and it is alleged that the actress – who also starred in Rush Hour 2, House Of Flying Daggers and Memoirs Of A Geisha – made millions more from similar deals with other rich and powerful figures.
Investigators are said to be looking into claims that her supposedly illicit earnings escaped tax thanks to interventions by Xu Ming and senior government officials.
It was reported that the Chinese government has refused to allow Zhang Ziyi to leave the country while it investigates the claims, prompting claims that this was why she was absent from this year’s Cannes film festival to promote her latest film, a new version of Dangerous Liaisons.
The actress cryptically wrote on her internet blog that many people “can take wind as rain” using their imaginations.
Zhang Ziyi’s Chinese publicist described the claims as “outrageous”, adding: “It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness. Why should this devoted and responsible actress have to suffer this kind of slander and defamation?”
Now living in Hong Kong, Zhang ziyi was engaged from 2008 until 2010 to Vivi Nevo, the Israeli-American venture capitalist who was romantically linked to Kate Moss.