Diane Alter – Fourth Estate Cooperative Reporter
Milan, Italy (4E) – Famed Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will stand trial over alleged tax evasion.
A judge in Milan gave prosecutors permission to bring the fashion pair to court over allegations of tax evasion offenses totaling around $1.25 billion.
The decision came after a higher court overturned an earlier acquittal of the designers, who maintain they have done nothing wrong.
Milan prosecutors allege the duo sold their D&G and Dolce & Gabbana brands to a holding company set up in Luxembourg in 2004 to avoid paying high taxes in Italy.
Investigations began in 2007.
Scores of fans applauded news last year when the two celebrated designers were cleared of accusations by a previous court.
Prosecutors appealed the decision and a high court overturned the ruling in November.
The case is among several tax disputes involving celebrities to go to court in Italy, where out-of-court settlements are favored in order to cut down on long proceedings and avoid possibly harsher punishments.
Late tenor Luciano Pavarotti settled a four-year dispute in 2000 and paid more than $12 million in back taxes to Italy.
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona owes some €38 million ($47.4 million) in unpaid taxes to Italian authorities, according to media reports. He recently said he wanted to clear up his situation.