By  on January 14, 2009

MILAN — Legendary designer Valentino is making headlines here once again — but not in the fashion pages. The Lazio, Italy, regional tax office has hit the designer and his longtime business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, with a 33 million euro, or $39 million at current exchange, fine for allegedly evading tax payments. The fine was levied in relation to possible undeclared earnings.

More seriously, the fine could lead to a criminal investigation of the two men and even a prison sentence. Case in point: Sophia Loren spent 17 days in prison in Italy in 1982 for tax evasion. In Valentino’s case, it’s unlikely he would be sent to prison given his age, which is 76. Agreeing to pay the fine would put an end to the matter if Valentino and Giammetti didn’t clear themselves of the accusations.

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