Much ado has been made over Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's tax evasion sentence, issued yesterday by a judge in Milan, which includes a 20-month stint in jail. But even if their lawyers were to let the decision stand (which they won't without a fight — they've already vowed to appeal it), the designers probably won't actually go to prison at all, and neither will any of their four colleagues also found guilty. In Italy, most criminals don't have to serve prison terms of under two years; the ruling appears to function more like a suspended sentence, meaning they'll only go to jail if they run afoul of the law again.
The designers and their colleagues will, however, have to pay a fine if this ruling stands — €500,000 (about $668,650). But this is peanuts compared to the €400 million (about $535 million) that they were also ordered to pay the Italian Revenue Service in March.
Meanwhile, Dolce & Gabbana's lawyers won't be able to file an appeal for several months, according to WWD, because in true Italian tradition, the court is entitled to a 140-day summer break. This gives the designers time to produce several collections swoon-worthy enough to make everyone forget about this unsightly mess — not that either of them have set foot in court these past few months, of course.
Update: Dolce & Gabbana's lawyers have released the following official statement reiterating their clients' innocence:
This morning, we were shocked when we noticed that certain media outlets had completely misunderstood yesterday’s verdict, turning it upside down. This is why we must come back on the matter in order to state the truth of the situation.
All charges related to the fact that the two designers were accused of not having included in their taxes declaration the sum of 1 billion euros, were dropped – because the fact has never happened. Therefore, it is also false what was written today by some media outlets, according to which the designers were condemned of 1 billion euros of taxes evasion: the charges on this accusation were all dropped, as they were two years ago.
The conviction of the two designers – which in any case is suspended – for which Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana do not risk a single day of jail, relates only to their alleged involvement with the administrator of the Company Gado for not having paid 40 million euros of taxes.
We state once again that, sure of their innocence, we will appeal the part of the verdict that see the designers convicted, being convinced that all charges will be dropped also for those matters.
And so the case will continue.