MILAN — A verdict in the tax trial of Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and five others is expected Wednesday after the prosecutors and defense make any final statements.
On Friday, the designers’ accountant, Luciano Patelli, one of the defendants, exercised his right to offer a statement as his lawyers asked the court for his full acquittal. After citing his experience of more than 30 years as a consultant with high-profile firms and publicly listed conglomerates and his lessons on fiscal law at the Academy of Italy’s police force Guardia di Finanza, Patelli lamented how prosecutor Gaetano Ruta “tried to discredit” him despite his continuous “full respect of the laws” by accusing him of slashing Dolce & Gabbana’s fiscal costs.
“This is a legitimate and natural activity, any company looks at containing costs, also those related to taxes,” said Patelli, reading his statement firmly and in an even manner.
In his closing speech last month, Ruta had the harshest words for Patelli, who he viewed as the “orchestrator” of the issues at trial, asking Judge Antonella Brambilla to sentence Patelli to three years in prison for tax evasion, more than the two-and-a-half years requested for Dolce and Gabbana. Ruta alleged in his statement that the only purpose in selling the Dolce & Gabbana brands to the Luxembourg-based Gado Srl was to avoid paying taxes.
“Our duty is to determine the borders for actions within the law and I am convinced this was always top of mind, as this is my usual method, transparent and everything in writing. I feel the words of the prosecutor were deeply unjust as I was defined an instigator to the crime, but this is not so. The necessity to save on tax payments after the restructuring of the company was outlined to me from the beginning , and it’s natural and normal,” said Patelli, adding that letters from Dolce & Gabbana to the Revenue Agency requesting clarifications on how to proceed in terms of tax rates were shown to him from the start and dated back to 2002. Patelli said that Ruta’s “suggestion” that Dolce & Gabbana’s tax rate went from 45 percent to 4 percent with Gado was “erroneous,” setting it at 32 percent, noting that there was no “sensational” saving.
Patelli concluded by saying that he was never aware of how Gado operated, as his task ended with the restructuring of the company. The latter had become essential in the expansion of the company as the designers physically owned the Dolce & Gabbana and D&G brands, a fact that presented elements of risk. For this reason, claim the defendants, the brands were sold to the Luxembourg-based company.
Patelli’s lawyer Fabio Cagnola said he did not wish to be polemic with Ruta “although he has made every effort for me to be so,” and praised the “ transparency of Patelli’s work. Every single step can be traced back, which proves how legitimate the project was, he hid nothing. This is a trial full of prejudices. The prosecutor built his accusations around a prejudice — that if you set up a company outside Italy, it is a fictitious one.”
Cagnola contested this, claiming that crime exists only if there is “a dissociation between the formal and the actual residences.” Just as the designers’ lawyers had said earlier in the week, Cagnola reiterated that the European Union allows and protects “free fiscal competition” among the countries. The lawyer underscored that Patelli alerted Dolce & Gabbana’s management that Gado activities should take place in Luxembourg.
Patelli’s other lawyer, Giuseppe Bana, said the accountant “instigated to follow the law.” He noted how neither Dolce & Gabbana nor Patelli, an “esteemed professional whose reputation was indubitable” could run the risk of breaking the law. Going back to a remark made by Ruta in an earlier hearing, expressing surprise that there had been no discord between Patelli and the other defendants after their indictment, Bana said: “Why should it have been any different? Everything was legitimate and above board.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye