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Della Valles Caught in Italian Court’s Web

Diego Della Valle and his brother Andrea said Tuesday that they will appeal a 15-month jail sentence for alleged sports fraud.

MILAN — Diego Della Valle and his brother Andrea said Tuesday that they will appeal a 15-month jail sentence for alleged sports fraud.

This story first appeared in the November 9, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A court in Naples found the Della Valles — along with numerous other people — guilty of the charges as part of a long-running Italian investigation into sports irregularities, defined here as “Calciopoli.” The Della Valles issued a statement saying that they were “embittered but not too surprised, it’s an unjust verdict against which we will immediately appeal, with the firm determination to protect our rights at all judicial levels.”

The brothers were also fined 25,000 euros, or $34,600, each. The sentence has been suspended while the brothers appeal the decision — and even then it is unlikely they will ever serve jail time given Italy’s byzantine legal system.

Diego Della Valle, chairman and chief executive officer of Tod’s SpA, and his sibling, vice chairman of the luxury goods firm, own the Florence soccer team Fiorentina. The Della Valles control the team through a personal holding, the Diego Della Valle & C. S.A.P.A. financial vehicle, which is separate from the publicly traded Tod’s. The investigation, which centered around the Juventus soccer club, covered numerous other presidents and owners of Italian teams, referees, designators and members of the country’s soccer federation.