The “Panama Papers” have ensnared the fashion world.
According to reports in Italy and the U.K., Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, as well as London-based designer Roksanda Ilincic, all have interests in companies for which Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca did some work.
According to Italy’s weekly L’Espresso, the law firm “managed some reserved transactions” for Valentino and Giammetti. L’Espresso states that Giammetti’s offshore entity is called Jarra Overseas SA, and that it was registered in 2004 in the British Virgin Islands. “For Valentino, the question is more complex. There is a company, also established in the British Virgin Islands on the same date as Jarra: It is the Paramour Finance Ltd., capital $50,000,” reports L’Espresso, adding that Paramour was closed in 2013. “But who hides behind this screen? Because for Paramour there is no clear ascription as for Giammetti.”
Both Valentino and Giammetti had been investigated for alleged tax payment evasion in reference to the fiscal years 2000 to 2006, the weekly states. As reported, the matter was settled for an undisclosed sum. L’Espresso claims that Jarra Overseas and Paramour Finance were part of the investigation.
The designer and his partner have been residing in London since the sale of the Valentino company to the now-defunct Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali in 1998. A spokeswoman for the designer had no immediate comment.
According to a report in The Guardian newspaper in London, Ilincic is part-shareholder in a British Virgin Islands company, Greenland Property Ltd., with her husband, Philip Bueno de Mesquita.
A spokesperson for Ilincic said the designer “does not avoid tax or obscure ownership of her assets. Indeed, she is taxed in the U.K. on her worldwide income and gains, subject to any double taxation treaties in place with the U.K. Revenue.”
The spokesperson added that Greenland Property is a dormant company with no assets. The Serbian designer’s fashion company is registered in the U.K.
The “Panama Papers” are a trove of confidential documents providing information about offshore companies listed by the corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca in Panama that were sent anonymously to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The Guardian made clear there is nothing to suggest that any of the individuals named in its story — people including Simon Cowell; Stanley Kubrick; Sarah, Duchess of York; Jackie Chan, and Sir Mark Thatcher — sheltered, or sought to shelter, money or assets offshore to avoid tax for any unlawful purpose.