you're excused

Dolce & Gabbana Off The Hook In £1 Billion Tax Fraud Case

Powered by article was written by Imogen Fox, for The Guardian on Friday 1st April 2011 20.45 UTC

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will no longer have to worry about what to wear in court. Italian fashion’s most powerful design duo have been told they will not stand trial for an alleged €1bn (£880m) tax dodge after a judge in Milan threw out the case against them at a preliminary hearing.

The pair have built one of the world’s largest fashion brands, beloved of celebrities such as Madonna and Kylie. They were accused of fraud of around €1bn as part of an inquiry into reports the company had failed to declare €840m in revenues. Both designers, Dolce’s brother Alfonso and three other senior members of the company were accused but all denied the charges.

Judge Simone Luerti ruled there was not enough evidence to take the Milanese designers to trial, and closed the file on other people who had been under investigation as well.

The reported allegation was that Dolce & Gabbana created a company in Luxembourg in 2004 and 2005 which was given control of the group’s two brands – the main label and its younger line D&G – so avoiding Italian taxes.

It is unlikely that sales of their brand of “molto-sexy” clothes will have been affected by this near brush with scandal.

Dolce and Gabbana are a superstar partnership – there are stores in 34 countries – who have masterminded an instantly recognisable high-end Euro-look. They are central to the Milanese fashion notion of “more is more”.

Alongside super-sexy ads, the brand’s success has been based on its ability to sell well-tailored suiting and glitzy party dresses alongside more affordable branded items including T-shirts, jeans, perfume, sunglasses and makeup.

This is not the first controversy Dolce and Gabbana have weathered. Three years ago, they came under fire over an advertisement that was accused of exalting gang rape: it showed a woman being held down on the ground by a man while other men looked on.

In 2009, Giorgio Armani accused the couple of having copied a design for quilted trousers – a charge Dolce and Gabbana contemptuously dismissed. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010