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Fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana guilty of tax evasion in Italy

Filippo Monteforte / AFP - Getty Images, file

Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce (L) and Stefano Gabbana in this 2007 file image.

MILAN, Italy - Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were given a suspended jail sentence of one year and 8 months Wednesday after being found guilty of hiding $1.3 billion in income from tax authorities.

The men were convicted by a court in Milan but given a suspended sentence, which means they will avoid prison as long as they commit no other crimes for five years.

The conviction is the culmination of efforts by tax authorities to prosecute the pair. Two years ago, a court threw out charges of fraud.

The designers, whose creations have earned them celebrity friends including Madonna, were not present in court in Milan and have always denied the charges.