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Chinese Actress Vicki Zhao Banned From Securities Markets

Prominent Chinese actress Zhao Wei (aka Vicki Zhao) has been banned for five years from holding senior positions in any listed company in China. The ruling was made by the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The punishment relates to the failed 2016 takeover bid announced by Tibet Longwei, a company controlled by Zhao and her husband, Huang Youlong, for 29% of Zhejiang Wanija. The pair were found to have “disrupted market order” and to have benefited from a “celebrity effect” when they announced their bid, but did not have the financial resources to go through with it.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission had previously punished the pair with a five-year ban from trading on the Shanghai market and a $170,000 (RMB1.2 million) fine for the same offense. The latest, additional penalty reflects their release of false information during the bid.

Zhao made her name with 1990s TV series “My Fair Princess.” She has since become well-known for roles in such movie as “Shaolin Soccer” and “Red Cliff.” In 2014, Zhao made her directorial debut with hit film “So Young.” She was subsequently announced as directing two films for Alibaba Pictures, including an animated version of “Princess.”

Like some other hugely paid Chinese celebrities, Zhao has become known as a prominent investor. Chinese media has frequently reported her net worth to exceed $1 billion, fueled in particular by buying a large, early stake in Alibaba Pictures, on the personal recommendation of Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.

China’s celebrities have come under growing scrutiny over the past year, and authorities expect them to set a good example or face the consequences. Top actress Fan Bingbing has been hit with fines and penalties in excess of $130 million in relation to her tax affairs.

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