By  on September 23, 1994

MILAN -- A marshal of the Guardia di Finanza, Italy's tax police, was arrested in Turin Thursday for accepting a bribe from the Versace fashion group, Guardia officials said.

The arrest of marshal Giacomo Giaminardi was the first in the ongoing probe of tax officials who might have solicited bribes from fashion firms they were auditing, Guardia officers here confirmed. Giaminardi was charged with corruption in connection with an audit at Versace's Novara factory, Alias SpA, according to the Guardia and courthouse sources.

As reported, Versace chief executive Santo Versace, who is designer Gianni Versace's brother, was interrogated by magistrates for several hours Monday as part of the large-scale corruption investigation now under way here.

Neither Santo Versace nor the fashion house has been charged in the case. Neither Versace officials nor the house's lawyer were available for comment late Thursday.

The bribe Versace paid the tax official was reportedly between $96,000 to $100,000 (150 million to 165 million lire) at current exchange rates, according to judicial sources.

The corruption scandal now beginning to wash over Italy's fashion industry spread further Thursday when Guardia officials reported the flight of Luciano De Camillo.

He is wanted for his alleged role in arranging an illegal off-shore payment by the Krizia fashion house to Guardia official Carlo Capitanucci, who was jailed earlier on other corruption charges.

On Wednesday, Mario Scamoni, a lawyer representing Mariuccia Mandelli of Krizia, said she has admitted bribing Guardia officials in return for a favorable tax audit. The bribe is reportedly some $260,000.

It was also learned Thursday that Nicola Di Luccio, former chairman of the Basile fashion house and a former official in the Christian Democratic party, met with investigating magistrate Antonio Di Pietro Wednesday.

According to sources, Di Luccio is believed to be the previously interrogated political figure who returned to court to admit to payoffs on behalf of a fashion house, as reported in WWD Wednesday.

Basile, which is no longer operative, declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

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