Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana may have to design their next collection behind bars.
The fashion duo was sentenced by an Italian court to a suspended sentence of one year and eight months in prison for tax evasion. The sentence concludes a long investigation into Dolce and Gabbana's financial affairs since 2004, the year they sold their two main brands to a Luxembourg-based company, Gado Srl.
Dolce and Gabbana reportedly undervalued their company to avoid paying Italian taxes on the transaction. They're accused of trying to bypass nearly €1 billion ($1.3 billion), which almost makes Lauryn Hill look like a saint.
None of the designers were present at the hearing when the sentence was pronounced, but an appeal is expected. Stay tuned...
UPDATE (June 21, 2013): The designers' lawyers have released a statement to clarify the verdict.
All charges related to the fact that the two designers were accused of not having included in their taxes declaration the sum of 1 billion euros were dropped. The conviction of the two designers – which in any case is suspended – relates only to their alleged involvement with the administrator of the Company Gado for not having paid €40 million in taxes.
Dolce and Gabbana will appeal the part of the verdict that see the designers convicted, being convinced that all charges will be dropped for those matters. Dolce and Gabbana will not serve time in jail, pending five years of good behavior.