Guess Jeans co-founder Georges Marciano has been ordered to pay $55 million in a libel suit filed by an accountant who said the former chief executive falsely accused him of blackmail and stealing funds.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White issued the ruling Wednesday after hearing evidence from lawyers representing the accountant, Gary Iskowitz, Iskowitz’s wife, and business partner. Marciano did not defend himself in court because White excluded him from the case as a sanction for failing to cooperate with pretrial proceedings.

The judgment comes on top of $370 million that Marciano was ordered to pay last month to five other former employees who filed defamation suits against him with similar claims.

-- Victoria Kim