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Walter and Giovanni Burani Sentenced in Fraud Case

Father and son have been found guilty of fraudulent bankruptcy of the Mariella Burani Fashion Group and its parent company, Burani Designer Holding.

MILAN — Walter and Giovanni Burani have been sentenced to six years in jail for fraudulent bankruptcy of the Mariella Burani Fashion Group and its parent company, Burani Designer Holding.

Prosecutor Luigi Orsi had requested nine years jail time for the founder and former chairman of the group, Walter, and his son Giovanni, former chief executive officer. Although the reasoning behind the court’s lighter sentence will not be known for three months, it is understood the behavior of the two men during the trial and the fact that they have paid back part of their debts were taken into account. The Buranis will end up paying around 13 million euros, or $17.8 million at current exchange.

Walter, husband of designer Mariella, and his son had expanded the firm into an apparel and accessories conglomerate in the early years of the Naughts, piling up a debt of more than $600 million and dabbling too freely and creatively with finance. Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development granted bankruptcy protection to MBFG in March 2010 and appointed three administrators to manage the group.

Giovanni Burani served a two-month prison sentence in summer 2010 while his father was under house arrest as part of a wider ongoing investigation into fraudulent bankruptcy. Orsi had also been investigating Burani Designer Holding, parent company of MBFG, for fraudulent bankruptcy.

MBFG, which was once listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, produced the Mariella Burani brand and collections for Ungaro and Matthew Williamson under licensing agreements.