MILAN — Tonino Perna’s tax trial is expected to kick off on Oct. 15 in Isernia, Italy, home to manufacturing company Ittierre SpA and the now-defunct parent company IT Holding SpA.

This story first appeared in the May 27, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The former chairman and chief executive officer of the group is charged with criminal bankruptcy, together with nine other defendants, as part of the inquest dubbed “Alta Moda” [couture or high-end fashion] by the prosecutors and the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s fiscal police. Perna was arrested and briefly jailed in January 2012 as a precaution to avoid his tampering with evidence and the recurrence of crime.

According to Isernianews, Perna’s lawyer Marco Franco touted his belief in the entrepreneur’s acquittal following the trial. He underscored that the charges related to Perna’s subtraction of 24 million euros, or $32.7 million at current exchange, for an operation within the group in 1997, which he claims were never moved for Perna’s personal gain, were dropped.

Perna was accused of using 61 million euros, or $83.1 million, of funds meant for IT Holding for other purposes, including allegedly for his personal real estate.

IT Holding was once one of Italy’s fastest-growing fashion firms, owning Ittierre, Gianfranco Ferré and Malo, among other brands. It also produced secondary lines for the likes of Versace, Trussardi, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana. Following two years of government-backed bankruptcy protection, Ittierre was sold to Albisetti, and Ferré and Malo now operate under new owners, Paris Group and Evante, respectively. As reported, Paris Group is understood to be moving operations out of Italy and to Dubai, and has halted Ferré’s fashion shows in Milan, letting go of its designers, Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi, and closing its iconic boutiques, such as the unit in Milan’s Via Sant’Andrea.

IT Holding went public in 1997 and in the early part of this century, Perna began investing in the acquisition of designer brands such as Ferré, Malo and Romeo Gigli. Weighed down by debt, IT Holding entered government-backed bankruptcy protection in February 2009.

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