MILAN — Matteo Marzotto’s tax trial is expected to kick off on March 21 and will be held at Milan’s courthouse, a source said.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
State prosecutors Laura Pedio and Gaetano Ruta, who also headed up the Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana tax case, which wrapped up in June, initiated the probe following allegations that involve Marzotto and his family’s association with the sale of Valentino Fashion Group to private equity fund Permira in May 2007 for more than 782 million euros, or $1 billion. They were indicted for alleged omission of earnings declaration and tax evasion of more than 71 million euros, or $95.8 million at current exchange.
Marzotto, the former Valentino chairman and former co-owner of Vionnet, declined to comment Monday. He was indicted with his sister Diamante; real estate entrepreneur Massimo Caputi, and Bart Zech and Pierre Kladny, respectively administrator and president of the board of International Capital Growth, a firm the tax police believe to be a fictitious entity based in Luxembourg but managed in Milan, and allegedly created for the purpose of selling 29.9 percent of the Valentino Group. According to the indictment, taxes on the profit derived from the transaction were never paid in Italy. This allowed the accused to net a capital gain of 200 million euros, or $256.7 million, and elude the payment of more than 71 million euros in taxes, the police claim.
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Eight ICG partners, including Vittorio Marzotto and members of the Donà dalle Rose family — another branch of the Marzotto family — opted for plea bargains for a total amount of 164,000 euros, or $221,316, another source said. ICG paid about 57 million euros, or $75 million, to the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s internal revenue service, this spring.
In November 2012, Matteo Marzotto declared that he did not hold operative roles in the company, in which he was a minority shareholder, saying that he had “always operated in the full respect of the law, so much so that this operation had been at the time communicated in all its details to the authorities of the bourse and to the press.”
Permira acquired 29.6 percent of VFG from the Marzotto family’s ICG for 782.6 million euros, or $1 billion, in May 2007. Permira then took control of VFG with some members of the Marzotto family through Red & Black Lux Sarl, shelling out about $3.55 billion for the group, which included a majority stake in Hugo Boss — at the time Permira’s prime motivation for the deal.
The Marzotto firm bought Valentino in 2002 for $210 million (including net debt of $179.2 million), from the now-defunct Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali. Marzotto, which started out as a woolen mill in 1836, made its first fashion foray when it bought Hugo Boss in 1991. In 2005, Marzotto spun off Valentino, a controlling stake in Hugo Boss and other clothing assets into the new VFG, listing it on the Milan Stock Exchange. Valentino was delisted in 2008.
In July 2012, Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a private investor group from Qatar, agreed to acquire VFG for about 700 million euros, or $858 million, from Red & Black Lux.