It was a case that had been hanging over Stefano Gabbanna and Domenico Dolce for seven years when initial investigations began, but yesterday, on Friday October 24th they were found not guilty of tax evasion resulting in the over turning of two previous sentences in the lower court in Italy. The verdict that was given out by Italy's highest court must have come a huge relief to the designers who were facing 20 months in jail had they lost the appeal.
It took five jury members three hours to come up with the verdict. The result meant that the jury, lead by president Alfredo Teresi also cleared the D&G other team members, general director, Christiana Ruella, finance director, Giuseppe Minoni as well as accountant Luciano Patelli as there was no longer a case.
Speaking after the verdict, the designers lawyer said, “I am very satisfied. We have been saying that they were innocent for the past seven years. Nobody can take back the negative publicity they received over these seven years, but we knew we were in the right all along.”
Bad publicity there was. The case sparked an Italian media frenzy when the original sentence was handed out in April of this year at Milano's appeal court. The room was filled with reporters, as well as TV camera's. However when the verdict was over turned yesterday in Italy’s version of the Supreme Court it was a different scene, with barely anyone in attendance.
Giuseppe Bana, the lawyer for the accountant, Luciano Patelli also made a statement after the verdict "We are entirely pleased with the acquittal of Mr. Patelli, which has arrived at the end of a trial that should never have taken place, after a preliminary hearing judge had deemed the accusations totally unfounded."
The case isn't entirely over however, as there may still be a trial at the appeals court for Domenico Dolce’s brother, Alfonso Dolce. He is the legal representative of the company. His paperwork is still being reviewed in the appeals court.