The French newspaper L’Express ran an explosive report that Karl Lagerfeld has been using offshore tax havens to avoid paying French taxes. The story, which quickly made worldwide headlines, claims that the designer owes the French goverment more than 20 million euros. Now, ABC News reports that Lagerfeld is saying, via a spokesperson, that he “had no wish to evade the law,” and that his financial advisors are working on the situation with the authorities.
Chanel and Fendi, where Lagerfeld is head designer and creative director, have no involvement in the charges. Lagerfeld is far from the first designer to be leveled with these kinds of allegations: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had a long-standing case, though they were exonerated in 2014, and Valentino paid up to the Italian tax authorities back in 2009. You might even call it a designer rite of passage.