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Italy: Influencer Chiara Ferragni suspected of birthday cake fraud

Italy: Influencer Chiara Ferragni suspected of birthday cake fraud

Influential Italian star Chiara Ferragni is under investigation for fraud in a charitable sale of the traditional Christmas cake “Pandoro”, an accusation she denied on Tuesday, citing her “good faith”.

The famous fashion blogger, followed by nearly 30 million subscribers on Instagram, is at the center of a scandal related to the sponsorship she granted to a brand of panettone, a brioche similar to panettone, marketed in November 2022, which indicates that part. The proceeds will be donated to benefit children suffering from bone cancer at the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin (North West).

The Italian competition watchdog discovered last month that buyers had in fact been misled. The profit from the sale of this special edition of the Balocco pandoro brand brought more than one million euros to the companies owned by Chiara Ferragni while the company was limited to donating a lump sum of 50 thousand euros to the hospital.

The businesswoman's lawyer, Giuseppe Iannacone (36 years old), confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that the Milan Public Prosecutor's Office had officially cited his client in this aggravated fraud case. This procedural step does not mean conviction, but rather proves that there is sufficient evidence to place the person concerned under preliminary investigation.

The Milan prosecutor's office did not respond when contacted by AFP.

“I am calm because I have always acted in good faith and I am sure that this will result from the ongoing investigations,” Chiara Ferragni said in a statement sent by her lawyer.

In December, the competition watchdog fined two of his companies and Balocco €1.4 million for urging consumers to believe that buying “pink Christmas Pandora” would contribute to charity.

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Balocco said in a statement that he “deeply regrets that many have misunderstood the initiative.” The company said: “We will cooperate with the authorities – in whom we have full confidence – and we are confident that our absolute good faith will be demonstrated.”

“Pandoro Gate”

Since launching a successful fashion blog fifteen years ago, Chiara Ferragni has built a multi-million dollar empire, launching her own label and forging profitable partnerships with major brands.

Her success story is told in Unposted, a documentary about her life as an influencer and entrepreneur which was one of the highlights of the 76th Venice Film Festival in September 2019.

The “Pandoro Gate”, as the Italian media called it, which has been in the headlines for weeks, has damaged the image of the glamorous star.

Daily La Repubblica reported last week that Coca-Cola had dropped a commercial with it that was scheduled to air in January, while eyewear maker Safilo ended a licensing deal in December.

Last December, Chiara Ferragni admitted, in a video clip she posted on Instagram, that there had been a “miscommunication error” by linking a charitable work to a commercial activity, adding that she was going to donate one million euros to the hospital.

She faces another similar investigation according to the media, this time over a charitable sale of Easter eggs, which, according to the newspaper Il Fatto quotidiano, would have brought her 500,000 euros in 2021 and 700,000 euros in 2022, but only 36,000 euros for the children's charity. Which was to take advantage of it.

Chiara Ferragni, who became one of the most popular couples on social networks with Italian rapper Fedez, became known in 2009 through her fashion blog titled “The Blonde Salad”.

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She then launched her own shoe collection in 2015, before collaborating with several fashion brands, including Dior and Chanel, and becoming an entrepreneur, in addition to her blog, in businesses, including an online store.