Peter Nygard, the Canadian trend govt, has been charged with intercourse trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and different crimes that concerned dozens of ladies and teenage ladies as victims in the US, the Bahamas and Canada, federal prosecutors in Manhattan stated on Tuesday.
Mr. Nygard, 79, used his firm’s affect, its cash and its workers to recruit grownup and “minor-aged feminine victims” over a 25-year interval for the sexual gratification of him and his associates, based on a nine-count federal indictment. He was arrested in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Monday on the request of the US below an extradition treaty, the U.S. lawyer’s workplace in Manhattan stated. He’s now being held in a Manitoba jail.
The indictment accused Mr. Nygard of concentrating on victims from deprived financial backgrounds and, in some instances, with a historical past of abuse. Mr. Nygard sexually assaulted some, it stated, whereas his associates assaulted or drugged others “to make sure their compliance with Nygard’s sexual calls for.”
Jay Prober, the style mogul’s lawyer in Winnipeg, denied the costs in opposition to his consumer, saying he anticipated Mr. Nygard to be vindicated. His lawyer in New York, Elkan Abramowitz, declined to remark.
As just lately as two years in the past, Mr. Nygard plastered his picture on billboards round Winnipeg — carrying a decent shirt that exposed glistening biceps and flowing hair. In court docket in Winnipeg on Tuesday, he appeared weak and shaky, carrying a sweatshirt and his hair in a messy bun. Chains sure his wrists and ankles.
He was ordered to be held pending additional court docket proceedings. A bail listening to was scheduled for Jan. 13, however Mr. Prober stated he deliberate to hunt a listening to as early as subsequent week. Though Canadian courts often grant extradition to the US, the method can take years.
In February, The New York Times detailed how an extended, ugly feud between Mr. Nygard and his neighbor within the Bahamas led to a lawsuit accusing Mr. Nygard of sexually assaulting minors there. Within the article, dozens of ladies and former workers described how alleged victims have been lured to Mr. Nygard’s dwelling.
The combat between Mr. Nygard and his neighbor, Louis Bacon, a hedge fund billionaire, difficult issues. Two of the ladies who initially stated Mr. Nygard raped them later recanted, saying they have been paid to manufacture their claims.
For years, Mr. Nygard blamed Mr. Bacon for any allegations in opposition to him. However The Occasions documented a sample of complaints stretching again 4 a long time, properly earlier than the feud, and confirmed how Mr. Nygard used his cash and threats to silence his alleged victims.
The indictment options a few of the identical allegations because the lawsuit, which was filed in New York in February. Greater than 80 ladies have signed on as plaintiffs.
Tamika Ferguson, a plaintiff within the lawsuit, stated Mr. Nygard raped her in 2004 throughout a celebration at his dwelling, when she was 16. She stated she was overwhelmed after studying concerning the indictment.
“I really feel the perfect I’ve felt in a very long time,” she stated on Tuesday.
April Telek, 47, a Canadian actress, stated she was raped and held in opposition to her will by Mr. Nygard in 1993, after going to his firm’s Winnipeg warehouse for a modeling job. She can also be a part of the lawsuit and has given an announcement to the Winnipeg police, however has not been contacted by American authorities.
“If he will get put away, that’s the place he belongs,” Ms. Telek stated. “I don’t care if it’s my case or any of the opposite poor victims that he has traumatized over the previous 40 years.”
The fees in opposition to Mr. Nygard have been introduced on Tuesday by the U.S. lawyer’s workplace, the F.B.I. and the New York Police Division. The Occasions reported in February that the investigation was being carried out by a joint baby exploitation process power.
A court docket affidavit by the Canadian authorities filed in Winnipeg stated that Mr. Nygard’s victims included ladies aged 14 to 17, and that his prison conduct had affected lots of. It described “methods of psychological management” wherein victims have been “always surveilled” and had “little to no management over their capacity to go away premises with out Nygard’s permission.”
Federal authorities beforehand investigated Mr. Nygard on allegations of intercourse trafficking between 2015 and 2017 with out submitting any fees. The F.B.I. carried out two transient inquiries, whereas the Division of Homeland Safety investigated him for 9 months.
For many years, Mr. Nygard portrayed himself as a playboy, describing the younger ladies and teenage ladies he surrounded himself with as “the supply of youth,” based on a video he produced about his makes an attempt to combat growing older. He dated celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith and fathered not less than 10 kids with eight ladies. Born in Finland, he grew up in Canada, launching his multinational trend firm, Nygard Worldwide, in Winnipeg greater than 50 years in the past.
He divided his time between Canada, the US and the Bahamas, the place he constructed a sprawling Mayan-themed compound, with sculptures of animal predators and bare ladies, that he described because the “Eighth Surprise of the World.”
The indictment charged that Mr. Nygard used the prospect of modeling and different trend trade jobs to lure ladies and teenage ladies. It stated that he additionally he used firm funds to pay for so-called pamper events. There, workers informed The Occasions, he recruited victims with free drinks, manicures and massages.
He compelled dozens of victims to have interaction in “industrial intercourse,” outlined in federal regulation as any intercourse act carried out in trade for one thing of worth, and used threats and guarantees to grant or withhold modeling alternatives or monetary assist to keep up management, the indictment stated.
Nygard Worldwide, a privately held firm that after claimed to make use of 12,000 individuals, is thought primarily for promoting leggings and tops to middle-age ladies via its personal shops and department shops in Canada and the US.
Mr. Nygard, estimated to be value roughly $750 million in 2014 by Canadian Business magazine, was identified to mix his skilled and private lives. He constructed lavish residences in his workplace buildings. A 1980 information article described an space of his Winnipeg workplace as a “ardour pit” with a mirrored ceiling and a sofa that reworked right into a mattress on the “push of a button.”
He stepped down from his firm in February, after federal authorities raided his dwelling in Los Angeles and company headquarters in New York, and main prospects just like the division retailer chain Dillard’s dropped his trend strains. In March, the corporate filed for chapter in Canada and in the US.
William Okay. Rashbaum and Kim Wheeler contributed reporting.