The last of the defendants in the long-running Dolce and Gabbana tax evasion case has been cleared of all charging, marking the end of the litigation. Alfonso Dolce, who acted as a legal representative for designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s alleged tax haven, Gado Srl, was fully acquitted of tax evasion charges by Milan’s Court of Appeals on Thursday. Speaking to WWD, Dolce’s lawyer, Massimo Dinoia, said that after almost 10 years the case “is definitely closed with an unquestionable verdict that does not admit uncertainties: there is no case to answer.”
You may recall that in 2014, 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 October 2014, prior guilty verdicts were overturned. 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.