The Italian tax police are not fucking around.
Last month, Dolce & Gabbana were sentenced to jail for tax evasion, and now another Italian fashion house has found itself connected to a similar scandal. According to WWD, Matteo Marzotto, former Valentino chairman, along with his sister and several others, have been indicted for evading $75 million in taxes, relating to the 2007 sale of a chunk of the Valentino label to private equity fund Permira.
In May 2007, Permira acquired 29.6 percent of the Valentino Fashion Group (VFG) from the Marzotto family (which had bought the label in 2002). The sale was made through the Marzotto’s Luxembourg-based International Capital Growth (ICG); Luxembourg is a tax haven country, and so the Marzottos were able to avoid paying heavy taxes on the sale of VFG.
Now, the Italian tax police and prosecution are alleging that ICG was in fact a fictitious firm set up for the sole purpose of evading taxes on the sale of VFG to Permira. According to the police, ICG was only based in Luxembourg on paper; in reality the firm was managed in Milan by its Italian owners. The police allege that shortly after the sale of VFG the firm was closed. Along with prominent members of the Marzotto family, one of Italy’s wealthy textile dynasties, the Italian government indicted entrepreneur Massimo Caputi and ICG’s administrator and president of the board, respectively, Bart Zech and Pierre Kladny.
Eight ICG partners, including Vittorio Marzotto and members of the Donà dalle Rose family–another branch of the Marzotto family–have already opted for a plea bargain, converting a six-month sentence to a fine.
Matteo Marzotto, the heir to the dynasty, and the others currently indicted, however, declined the plea bargain. A source speculates that this might have something to do with the accused’s political ambitions.
“I believe, together with the other individuals involved, that I have always operated in the full respect of the law, so much so that this operation had been at the time communicated in all its details to the authorities of the bourse and to the press,” Matteo Marzotto said.
The date of Marzottos’s trial is yet to be determined, but will likely take place in Milan, toward the end of this year or early 2014.