Italy judge rejects Dolce & Gabbana plea to ditch trial

MILAN - An Italian judge on Friday rejected a plea by fashion house duo Dolce & Gabbana to throw out a trial against them for allegedly failing to declare declare 840 million euros ($1.1 billion) in revenues, media reports said.

Judge Antonella Brambilla ruled the trial would go ahead and fixed the next hearing for January 30.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are accused of having transferred control of their brands to a shell company in Luxembourg in 2004 and 2005, thereby avoiding paying Italian taxes of around 420 million euros ($550 million).

Prosecutors in the case have argued that setting up the Luxembourg company Gado -- an acronym of the surnames of the two designers -- while the company was still operating out of Italy, was an attempt to defraud the state.

Last week, the pair's defence team had called for the case to be thrown out on the grounds that some legal documents had been omitted.

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

Investigators completed a probe into the designers, as well as five other people, in 2010 and the case was dismissed in April 2011 but reopened in November last year when Italy's highest court ruled the pair must face trial.

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