Sunday, January 17, 2021

Ex-President of Dolce & Gabbana HK unit charged over kickbacks on season-end fashion products

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The former president of Dolce & Gabbana Hong Kong Limited was on Thursday charged with taking kickbacks of HK$1.77 million (US$228,000) for arranging the sale of HK$12.6 million worth of products to a mainland China-based online retailer.

The Italian fashion house’s former top man in the city, Michel Didier Raymond Gonzalez, 54, and Jiang Jiafeng, 42, operator of the now-defunct Imoda HK, were jointly charged at West Kowloon Court by the Independent Commission Against Corruption with three counts of “conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages”

The pair were each released on bail of HK$20,000 on the condition they remain in Hong Kong and avoid contact with prosecution witnesses. They will appear at the District Court on June 11.

Court documents stated that at the material time, Gonzalez was president of D&G HK, which distributed Dolce & Gabbana brand clothing, leather goods, footwear, accessories, jewellery and watches in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region. Jiang was the operator and major shareholder of Imoda HK, which engaged in the luxury fashion goods trade.

The first charge alleges that between August 1, 2013, and January 14, 2014, Gonzalez and Jiang conspired with a third person, identified as Hong Xiaobo, to facilitate an illegal rebate of HK$400,000 from Imoda HK to Gonzalez in return for his selling D&G HK merchandise to a mainland company, something he had no “lawful authority or reasonable excuse” to do.

The mainland firm was an online discount retailer of season-end products from international brands, including Dolce & Gabbana.

The second charge details similar kickbacks of “over 770,000 yuan (HK$962,000) from Imoda HK for the same purpose” between July 30 and September 2, 2014.

The remaining charge involves illegal rebates worth more than HK$400,000 sent from Imoda HK to Gonzalez between January 1, 2015, and February 23, 2016.

In a Thursday statement, Dolce & Gabbana CEO said the company had provided full assistance to ICAC during the investigation, and would not comment further as criminal proceedings were ongoing.

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