Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has sued fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui after he sensationally claimed she slept with China’s anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan.
In recent months, Guo has made some extraordinary allegations of corruption and sleaze at the top ranks of the ruling Communist party.
His accusations have been a thorn in the side of the party as it prepares for its 19th Congress this autumn where President Xi Jinping seeks re-election to another five-year term.
The lawsuit by Fan comes amid a sustained and coordinated Chinese government campaign to discredit Guo since it requested an Interpol red notice to be issued in April and declared him a criminal suspect.
Fan, one of the world’s best-paid Chinese actresses, has hired American lawyers to pursue a defamation suit in the wake of the allegations.
Guo claimed Fan and several other female celebrities had sex with 69-year-old Wang, one of the most feared men in the country.
He even alleged he had watched parts of a sex tape of Fan and the official.
Following that, Fan, best known to international viewers for her role in X-Men: Days of Future Past, issued a furious response.
She said Guo’s allegation was a “fabrication” and “malicious slander” that had “severely damaged” her reputation.
Fan is in a relationship with fellow film star Li Chen.
She demanded that Guo and “relevant platforms” stop spreading the accusations and hired Lavely & Singer, a Los Angeles law firm, to prepare a lawsuit.
Another Chinese actress, Xu Qing, has also vowed to sue Guo if he refuses to apologise or delete relevant posts.
There is a long-standing tradition in China of trying to smear party bosses by accusing them of having affairs with celebrity actresses.
Guo, a real estate magnate, fled China in 2014. He lives in a luxury Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park.