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CRIME

Sentence sought for D&G fashion duo in tax trial

An Italian prosecutor on Wednesday sought a sentence of two years and six months for fashion duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who are on trial in Milan for allegedly evading about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in taxes.

Sentence sought for D&G fashion duo in tax trial
Stefano Gabbana (L) and Domenico Dolce at Milan Fashion Week in February. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The two are accused of dodging taxes due to the state by managing their brands through a shell company "Gado" in Luxembourg in 2004 and 2005.

"They are the ones who profited most from the operation," prosecutor Gaetano Ruta was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying.

"Gado was an artificial construction made for the tax advantage that was obtained," he said.

Dolce and Gabbana, whose clients include Beyonce and Madonna, have repeatedly denied the charge.

The two designers are being tried with five other people in the case. The investigation began after a tax inspection in 2007 and was completed in 2010.

The news comes one week after it was reported that the fashion duo, along with Italian designer Giorgio Armani were to be excluded from the official programme of Milan Fashion Week because they are not due-paying members of the national fashion chamber.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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