Dolce and Gabbana found guilty of tax evasion

Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have both been found guilty of tax evasion by an Italian court and sentenced to jail. The duo were both sentenced by Judge Antonella Brambilla to one year and eight months in prison, after being found guilty of failing to declare hundreds of millions of euros to the Italian tax authorities.

The designers, who were in London over the weekend launching their menswear boutique, were not present for the verdict and have strongly deny the charges.

A company spokesperson could not be reach for immediate comment, however it is thought that the pair are likely to appeal the verdict, and given the complexity and length of the appeals process in Italy it has been reported that it is unlikely that the designers will spend any time in jail.

Dolce and Gabbana sentenced to jail for tax evasion

In May, prosecutor Gaetano Ruta had called for the designers along with company board member Cristiana Ruella to receive two-and-a-half-years, after stating that the only purpose for selling the Dolce & Gabbana brands to Luxembourg-based Gado Srl in 2004 was to avoid paying taxes in Italy.

The prosecutor also requested that the designers' accountant, Luciano Patelli to be sentenced to three years, while Alfonso Dolce, Domenico’s brother, and finance director Giuseppe Minoni be sentenced to two years in prison, and that the company manager Antoine Noella should be absolved for lack of evidence.

The investigation began around six years ago by the Guardia di Finanza, an Italian police force under the authority of the national minister of economy and finance, after they claimed the designers avoided declaring taxes on royalties of around 1 billion euros from the sale of their brands.

The design duo were initially cleared of the charges at a previous trial in April 2011, but Italy's Supreme Court overturned that ruling, ordering that the case should be sent back.

Image: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana with Kylie Minogue at the opening of the Dolce & Gabbana boutique in London