Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce
Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce (54) and Stefano Gabbana (50), the duo behind the iconic Dolce & Gabbana luxury label, have been sentenced to jail after being found guilty of tax evasion.
On Wednesday, an Italian court sentenced the two men to one year and eight months in prison. They were also fined 500,000 euros (R6,7 million).
Four other employees, including Dolce’s brother Alfonso, were given suspended jail sentences.
The designers were found guilty of not paying taxes totalling 200 million euros (R2,7 billion) following an investigation that began in 2007 and resulted in a protracted legal battle.
The charges relate to the sale of their company in 2004 to the Luxembourg-based holding company, Gado Srl, which they also controlled.
The men are accused of having undervalued the company in order to avoid paying taxes in Italy on the sale.
Dolce and Gabbana have repeatedly denied their guilt, and confirmed that they will appeal against the ruling.
The fashion house, which is known for dressing celebrities such as Madonna and Beyonc�, was founded in Milan in 1985 and now employs more than 3,000 people and has 250 shops in 40 countries around the world.
Dolce and Gabbana became romantically involved soon after they met. In 2005 they announced that they had broken up after 19 years, although they continued to work together.