Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana filed to appeal their tax evasion guilty verdict this week (via counsel Massimo Dinoia) in Milan. Dolce’s brother, Alfonso, also filed to appeal his charges in the case this week. You may recall that in June, a Milanese court found the designers (and four other individuals, including Dolce’s brother Alfonso, general director Cristiana Ruella, finance director Giuseppe Minoni, and the group’s accountant Luciano Patelli) guilty of tax evasion stemming from the sale of the Dolce & Gabbana brand in 2004 to Luxembourg-based company, Gado, in order to avoid paying the Italian corporate tax rate. Judge Antonella Brambilla sentenced the designers to one year and eight months in jail, and slapped them with legal expenses.
The designer’s attorney is now arguing that despite Judge Brambilla’s belief that Dolce and Gabbana were involved in the sale of the brand (and maybe even the creation of Gado, a fictitious entity), they have little, if any, connection to the business aspect of their namesake company. Instead, the two focus primarily on designing and on “issues that concern the image of the fashion house and the creation of products,” and this is how it has been since day 1.
More likely than not, the designers and the other defendants will avoid jail time, as all of their respective sentences were terms of less than two years and in Italy, sentences below two years rarely result in actual imprisonment. However, the designers have been adamant about the ruling being reversed. They closed all of their Milan-based stores following the release of the verdict this past summer in protest and have also released statements to the press, asserting that they will cease operations of the iconic Italian brand if the ruling is not overturned.