It’s a dark day for Italian design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana as they were handed a one year and eight months suspended sentence for hiding millions of euros from the tax authorities.
The MO Down first reported this in early April with the news that Italy’s Tax Commission had fined them €343.4 million.
WWD reports that it wasn’t just Dolce and Gabbana who were sentenced, but also accountant Luciano Patelli to the same sentence. Dolce’s brother Alfonso, general director Cristiana Ruella and finance director Giuseppe Minoni were sentenced to one year and four months in jail plus legal expenses.
It is unlikely that anyone will actually see jail time, with the sentences being below the two-year minimum generally required in Italy to do so.
The public prosecutor had asked for two and a half years, but the judge opted for a suspended sentence.
The investigation started back in 2008, when authorities unleashed a tax avoidance crackdown as the financial crisis began to deepen. But the probe that caught out the two designers is one of the few high-profile cases to come to trial so far.
The defendants were also charged with paying the Revenue Agency a provisional fine of €500,000. The plaintiff solicitor Gabriella Valadia at the end of May asked for a provisional fine of €10 million, citing damages to the image of the Revenue Service. Valadia at the time claimed that tax evasion “shows a system that is not credible and efficacious, it hurts the credibility of the Italian fiscal system, aggravated by the fact that the individuals at the centre of the trial are so famous.”
The court’s fine is separate from one imposed by the Revenue Agency of more than €400 million, at the end of March.
By Cassandra Murnieks
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