Dolce & Gabbana’s tax woes are over as Alfonso Dolce on Thursday was fully acquitted of tax evasion charges by Milan’s appeals court.
“Finally,” said Dolce’s lawyer Massimo Dinoia, who noted that after almost 10 years the issue “is definitely closed with an unquestionable verdict that does not admit uncertainties: there is no case to answer.”
In October 2014, Italy’s Corte di Cassazione, the country’s highest court, cleared Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, as well as general director Cristiana Ruella, finance director Giuseppe Minoni and accountant Luciano Patelli, as there were no grounds for a case.
The designers were charged with tax evasion totaling 416 million euros, or $533.2 million, related to the 2004 sale of the Dolce & Gabbana and D&G brands to their Luxembourg-based holding company, Gado Srl, an acronym of their initials and an entity that the Italian tax police considered fabricated to avoid higher corporate taxes in Italy.
The only defendant who could have still seen a trial was Domenico Dolce’s brother, Alfonso Dolce, who at the time was the legal representative of Gado, as his paperwork was being sent back to the appeals court in Milan. The Cassazione, which was called upon to determine if there were any breaches or procedural flaws at the lower court levels, believed “that the criteria used to determine that Gado was a fictitious entity were wrong, but it can’t rule on Alfonso Dolce’s papers, as this is not its role,” explained a legal source at the time.
Dinoia, with his colleague Riccardo Olivo, underscored on Thursday that the appeals court deemed there was no crime and acquitted Alfonso Dolce despite the fact that the statute of limitations in the case expired in November 2014. This certifies the “total legitimacy” of the company’s operations said the lawyers.