Skip to main content

Fashion icons Dolce, Gabbana convicted in Italy of tax crime

By Livia Borghese and Greg Botelho, CNN
June 20, 2013 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Stefano Gabbana, left, and Domenico Dolce are co-founders of one of the fashion world's most well-known and desired brands.
Stefano Gabbana, left, and Domenico Dolce are co-founders of one of the fashion world's most well-known and desired brands.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Defense lawyers: They were convicted on one accusation, not all
  • Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are sentenced in a Milan court
  • So, too, are four others associated with their upscale fashion company
  • The fashion luminaries' lawyer says their convictions will be appealed

(CNN) -- Fashion luminaries Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were sentenced to prison in Italy Wednesday for failing to pay 40.4 million euros in taxes to the Italian government, their lawyer and a prosecutor said.

"This time it was not the case like the invoice for car repair," prosecutor Laura Pedio said of the crime for which the fashion duo was convicted. "This time it's serious, complicated, sophisticated tax fraud crime."

Both men were sentenced to one year and eight months in prison and, in addition to what they owe in taxes, told to pay a fine of 500,000 euros. Their lawyer, Massimo Dinoia, vowed that the defense plans to appeal the convictions as well as the related fines and sentences.

"Dolce and Gabbana will not go to jail now or ever," Dinoia said.

Dolce & Gabbana, fashion's golden duo

Four others associated with the upscale Dolce & Gabbana brand -- including Domenico's brother Alfonso Dolce and company tax consultant Luciano Patelli -- also face prison time, though Dinoia and Pedio did not know the length of all their sentences. While the decision was announced Wednesday morning in a Milan court, authorities did not immediately release details to the media or public.

According to Pedio, investigators found that between 2004 and 2007 Dolce and Gabbana failed to tell Italian authorities about an offshoot company they'd set up in Luxembourg, costing Italy millions of euros in taxes.

"I'm very satisfied with the sentence," the prosecutor said. "It was a very elaborate (use of an offshore company) that appeared legal, but was illegal."

The fashion magnates' defense team said this wasn't a sweeping verdict. In a statement, the lawyers said the court found Dolce and Gabbana innocent "of the accusation of having unfaithfully declared their earnings," even as the two men were convicted on a "taxes declaration omission."

It's not clear how the court ruling will impact the storied Dolce & Gabbana company, if at all.

The two stylists debuted their brand in an October 1985 show in Milan. Since then, they have exploded to become one of the world's most recognizable and desired fashion companies, with an array of products and stores from Azerbaijan to Qatar to Singapore to the United States and many places in between.

Fashion's Galliano found guilty of making anti-Semitic comments

Journalist Livia Borghese reported from Rome and CNN's Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT