Lifestyle & Belief

Dolce and Gabbana tax evasion trial begins in Italy


A gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's tax evasion trial began Monday in Milan.

According to Reuters, the high-profile case is one of the few tax disputes of its kind to go to court in Italy, where the government has launched a crackdown on tax evaders that has included very public police raids in yacht marinas and ski resorts.

Dolce and Gabbana are accused of not declaring taxes in Italy on royalties on over a billion euros ($1.3 billion) after moving their brand to Luxembourg in 2004, reported BBC News. Prosecutors allege the pair sold their firms to a holding company for well below market value, but the designers have denied the charges and have said the allegations are "absurd."

The two had previously been cleared of tax evasion charges by another Milan court last year, note Reuters, but a higher court overturned the acquittal, allowing for a new trial.

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Since Gabbana criticized the high court's decision last year by threatening, in a tweet, to leave the country, he and his business partner have not made any statements, BBC continued.

Six other people, including the designers' tax consultant, are also on trial. If found guilty, Dolce and Gabbana face up to five years in prison. The court is due to rule on the case December 14.