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Fashion king Nygard faced Winnipeg judge in shackles

Fashion king Nygard faced Winnipeg judge in shackles

What accusers describe as four decades of predatory sexual behavior came to a halt today as 79 year old Peter Nygard stood in a Winnipeg courtroom facing extradition to the US on charges of  sex trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and other crimes that involved dozens of women and teenage girls in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada. The extradition request came from  federal prosecutors in Manhattan..

It is alleged that Nygard, used his company’s influence, its money and its employees to recruit adult and “minor-aged female victims” over a 25-year period for the sexual gratification of him and his associates, according to a nine-count federal indictment.

According to the New York Times, whose story earlier this year over a neighbour dispute at Nygard’s Bahama hideaway, first raised the issue of sex abuse; the women Mr. Nygard is accused of targeting often came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds and, in some cases, had a history of abuse. The indictment alleges Mr. Nygard sexually assaulted some of them, while others were assaulted or drugged by his associates “to ensure their compliance with Nygard’s sexual demand.,”

In February, The New York Times detailed how a long, ugly feud between Mr. Nygard and his billionaire neighbor in the Bahamas had led to a lawsuit accusing Mr. Nygard of sexually assaulting minors there. Interviews with dozens of women and former employees described how alleged victims were lured to Mr. Nygard’s Bahamian home. The article documented a pattern of complaints about him stretching back 40 years and showed how he had used his money and threats to silence alleged victims.

The indictment features some of the same allegations as the lawsuit, filed in New York in February. More than 80 women, from the Bahamas to Denmark, have signed on as plaintiffs.

For decades, Mr. Nygard portrayed himself as a playboy, describing the young women he surrounded himself with as “the source of youth,” according to a video he produced about his attempts to fight aging. Born in Finland, he grew up in Canada, launching his multinational fashion company, Nygard International, in Winnipeg more than 50 years ago.

Mr. Nygard was brought into the courtroom Tuesday afternoon in chains around his wrists and ankles. He remains in jail.

The indictment charged that Mr. Nygard used the prospect of modeling and other fashion industry jobs to lure women and teenage girls. It said that he also he used money from his company to pay for so-called pamper parties in Los Angeles and the Bahamas that featured free drinks, manicures and massages.

He forced dozens of victims to engage in “commercial sex,” defined in federal law as any sex act performed in exchange for something of value, and used threats and promises to grant or withhold modeling opportunities or financial support to maintain control over them, the indictment said.Nygard is said to be worth about $750 Million

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