HEARINGS BEGIN ON DESIGNERS IN ITALY BRIBES

MILAN--No decisions were reached, as preliminary hearings got under way Wednesday into the tax bribery scandal involving some of Italy's top designers, courthouse sources said.
The hearings, which involve a total of 28 individuals, including five designer names, are expected to continue today. As reported, investigating magistrate Piercamillo Davigo is seeking indictments for corruption in connection with bribes paid to tax officials in 1990.
The five designers are Giorgio Armani; Santo Versace, who is chief executive officer of the Gianni Versace firm and Versace's brother; Gianfranco FerrA; Krizia's Mariuccia Mandelli, and Girolamo Etro.
The designers did not appear in court but were represented by their lawyers.
The bribery scandal broke last year in October and involves a series of audits into the fashion sector conducted by an elite tax corps called SECIT at the direction of Major Carlo Capitanucci, who is already in jail in connection with the probe. During the investigation, all of the designers admitted to paying bribes to the tax officials, saying they were pressured into doing so.

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