MILAN, June 8 Italian fashion designers Domenico
Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who count model Naomi Campbell and
pop star Madonna among their friends, will stand trial over
alleged tax evasion, according to legal sources and a court
filing seen by Reuters.
Milan judge Giuseppe Gennari gave the green light for
prosecutors to bring the fashion duo to court over allegations
of tax evasion offences totalling around 1 billion euros ($1.25
The decision in the long-running case came after a higher
court overturned a previous acquittal of the two glamorous
designers, who have denied any wrongdoing.
"Everyone knows that we haven't done anything," Gabbana said
in a tweet on Friday.
Milan prosecutors allege the fashion duo had sold their D&G
and Dolce & Gabbana brands to a holding company they set up in
Luxembourg in 2004 in order to avoid paying high taxes in Italy.
The investigations started in 2007.
The designers had been cleared from accusations by a
previous court last year, to the joy of numerous fans who
cheered the news on the Internet.
But prosecutors appealed against the decision and a high
court overturned the ruling in November asking for a new judge
to decide whether to send the pair to trial for unpaid taxes.
A court filing seen by Reuters confirmed the decision
reported by the sources.
The case is poised to be one of the few tax disputes
involving celebrities to go to court in Italy, where
out-of-court settlements are preferred in order to cut on long
proceedings and avoid possibly harsher punishments.
In 2000, late tenor Luciano Pavarotti settled a four-year
dispute and paid more than $12 million in back taxes to Italy.
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona owes some 38 million
euros in unpaid taxes to Italian authorities, according to media
reports. He recently said he wanted to clear up his situation.
Former MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi agreed to pay
$51 million to Italy's tax agency in 2008 after a lengthy probe.
($1 = 0.8021 euros)
(Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro, Additional reporting by
Ilaria Polleschi and Antonella Ciancio; Editing by Michael