Judge Antonella Brambilla has issued an opinion as to why Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are, in fact, guilty for tax evasion. According to Brambilla’s ruling, the founders of Italian design house, Dolce & Gabbana, were aware that Gado Srl, the company they sold their brands to in 2004 was a fictitious entity. She noted that she believes the designers were “certainly” aware of [that] fact and “evidently knew its structure and purposes, as it is certainly not believable that the designers had given up control of the actual ownership of the brands.” The judge said that the only purpose in setting up a company such as Gado was “to transfer earnings derived by royalties in Luxembourg” and that they were effectively the “beneficiaries.”
In a statement, the designers’ lawyers, Massimo Dinoia, Armando Simbari and Fortunato Taglioretti responded, claiming that Brambilla’s motivations “reveal how the trial results have been misunderstood or forgotten by the court.” The lawyers reiterated that they will appeal and that they are “sure” the sentence will be overturned.
In June, Dolce and Gabbana, as well as four other defendants, were found guilty in the designers’ long-running tax evasion case. Brambilla sentenced the designers and accountant Luciano Patelli to one year and eight months in jail, plus legal expenses. 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.