After several rounds and nearly four years in the lower courts, designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce has been acquitted of claims of tax evasion! Italy's high court overturned two lower courts' rulings (including both judges' strongly-worded opinions as two why the designers are, in fact, guilty), which held the Italian designers were guilty of hiding hundreds of millions of euros from Italian tax authorities. Specifically, the lower courts held that Dolce and Gabbana, as well as other company execs, used Luxembourg holding company Gado to avoid paying taxes on royalties of about 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion).
As of today, those rulings have been overturned, as the designer duo was been found not guilty by the five-member jury, which was headed by president Alfredo Teresi. The duo's co-defendants, including the company's general director Cristiana Ruella; finance director Giuseppe Minoni; and accountant Luciano Patelli, were also found not guilty.
The designers were initially indicted for alleged tax fraud in 2010, and were convicted by two separate courts. They were subsequently sentenced to jail time (which they did not have to serve due to technicalities in Italian law) and in a separate proceeding in April 2013, based on the same matter, the design duo was fined by Italy’s Tax Commission to the tune of 343.4 million euros (about $440.2 million), plus interest. They have always maintained their innocence.