Bulgari is not having a happy new year. The Italian luxury brand, famous for its Serpenti snake jewelry and fancy watches, has been accused of tax evasion to the tune of $92 million.
Women's Wear Daily reports that Italian tax authorities are investigating Bulgari's behavior from over the past few years, particularly 2011 when the company was acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The accusation is that Bulgari, a Rome-based company, filtered funds through holding companies in Ireland and Luxembourg instead of seeing their money taxed in Italy.
If this sounds familiar, it's because Dolce & Gabbana recently defended themselves against similar accusations. The design duo allegedly owe €400 million in taxes, having evaded the fees by setting up a Luxembourg holdings company. Italian tax authorities investigated them in 2007, dismissed the case in 2011, then reopened investigations in 2012. Dolce & Gabbana stood trial in what's been deemed a criminal case in early December.
Unfortunately, these kinds of headlines aren't even new. In 1995, Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferré, Santo Versace, Gerolamo Etro, Krizia and several other Italian designers were indicted for bribing tax inspectors in exchange for favorable audits.
Hey, we've got an idea: how about as a New Year's resolution, fashion designers vow to be honest, forthcoming and tax fraud-free in 2013?
Hey, it's not just the Italian fashion companies that misbehave...