Last June, the Italian news media went into a frenzy when the Financial Guard — Italy’s financial police — revealed embezzlement, tax evasion and false bankruptcy charges against former Limoni executives Piofrancesco Borghetti and Nazzareno Brandoni, and the arrest of Limoni supplier Antonio Lemma, owner of perfumery Vapro International and chief executive officer of First American Brands, or FAB. Lemma’s wife, also initially held, was quickly released.
Arrested without receiving a formal notice of investigation, Lemma spent six months in a Como jail and under house arrest, before his release on Dec. 3. The prosecution, led by Giuseppe Rose, has since withdrawn the fraudulent bankruptcy charges against Lemma, but the case is still open and other charges remain, according to legal documents.
With the next hearing slated for December, it’s likely the legal proceedings will drag on: One of Lemma’s lawyers, Emanuele Caimi, explained that, in Italy, trials are usually reviewed before three magistrates and not a citizen jury like in the U.S. Once the magistrates issue their verdict, one appeal is possible on merit and one on legitimacy with the Italian Supreme Court, or Cassazione.
Lemma denies any wrongdoing, and told WWD the accusations and media circus have tainted his career and hurt his family, in addition to costing him hefty legal fees.
“I absolutely reject the charges brought against me by the public prosecutor and the Financial Guard,” said Lemma. “The accusation of tax evasion in particular was based on a false statement, and it was insulting.”
Caimi called the investigation “superficial.”
According to legal documents from the Financial Guard, the authorities questioned the existence of Lemma’s FAB, which previously had been headquartered in California. The Guard also claimed it could not locate any Social Security number or any tax returns for FAB. The Guard’s implication appeared to be that FAB was a pseudo-American operation set up so the Italian Vapro International could avoid paying taxes at home. WWD has acquired copies of FAB’s American tax returns filed from Dec. 31, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2011.
A spokesman from the Como Financial Guard said at present it had no further comment on the case.
Lemma, who has lived in New York since 2003, said that Vapro suffered losses during the international economic crisis of 2008. He also said he was using money from the more financially stable FAB to cover Vapro’s debts, but that when Limoni abruptly canceled all orders and stopped its payments to FAB, he was forced to declare bankruptcy for Vapro.
“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
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye