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Dolce & Gabbana found guilty of tax dodging

Fashion duo Dolce & Gabbana have been convicted of dodging millions of pounds in tax - reports Sky News.

Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana - whose fashion house has dressed the likes of Madonna, Beyonce and Naomi Campbell - were found guilty of failing to declare 200 million euros (£171m) to authorities. The pair were accused of transferring control of their brands to a shell company in Luxembourg in 2004 and 2005. Italian authorities said setting up this firm, called Gado, was part of a bid to defraud the state. The court handed them a 20-month suspended prison sentence and ordered them to pay 500,000 euros (£428,000) to tax authorities.

Defence lawyers plan to launch an appeal for the pair, who have denied the charges all along. Prosecutor Laura Pedio said in her closing speech at the trial that there was "rock-solid proof" that the duo had committed "sophisticated tax fraud". The designers were acquitted of misrepresenting income of 416 million euros (£356m) each.

Two years ago, a judge threw out a tax evasion and fraud case against the pair. Italy's high court later ruled they could be prosecuted for tax evasion, though not for fraud. Gabbana tweeted about the trial in April, saying: "All that I care about is making clothes, that's all. Let them do and say whatever they want. "To be accused of something that's not true is not a pretty thing, but the heart of the matter is, who cares, we'll all end up in the ground in the end."

Three other defendants, including two managers, were also convicted in the scheme and given suspended sentences of 16 months. Founded in 1985, Dolce & Gabbana has 250 shops in 40 countries around the world.

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