MILAN — Milan prosecutor Gaetano Ruta has asked a judge here to dismiss an investigation targeting Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, for alleged tax evasion, according to a legal source. The source said Ruta believes the couple “are objectively not to be punished” because they have paid back their fiscal debt.
A representative for Prada and Bertelli had no comment on Tuesday.
As reported, in 2014 Italy’s tax authorities started investigating the designer and her husband, cochief executive officers of Prada SpA, in reference to “the accuracy of certain past tax filings” relating to foreign-owned companies. This followed a “voluntary disclosure” the couple made to tax authorities in December 2013 that resulted in an agreement with Italian tax officials.
“This agreement completely satisfied the claims of the Italian tax authority, as declared and confirmed by the authority itself,” argued the company, adding that neither the firm nor any of its subsidiaries was or is involved in the matter.
It is understood that Bertelli and Prada in 2013 paid 470 million euros, or $620.4 million at average exchange rates, to the tax office. Legal sources at the time emphasized that the designer and Bertelli had advised on the existing tax anomalies, brought back the legal headquarters of the company to Italy and paid the back taxes. Any transaction with Italy’s tax office starting from a sum as low as 100,000 euros, or $106,458 at current exchange, is declared to the prosecutors as a standard procedure.
According to sources, the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s tax agency, contested that Prada Holding BV had allegedly set up subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Luxembourg for a more favorable tax rate and only formally, but that it was not really operating out of those offices. In December 2013, Prada revealed “the completion of a voluntary disclosure procedure, which follows the company’s strategic decision to choose Italy as its business hub.”
Prada and Bertelli extinguished their fiscal debt by collaborating with the tax authorities, but that did not close out the legal investigation. This at the time was complicated by the fact that Italy’s Parliament was still working on legislation regarding voluntary disclosures, which was later approved, allowing a depenalization of the case.
Ruta also worked on the Dolce & Gabbana and Matteo Marzotto tax cases.