Canadian Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard Indicted on Sex-Trafficking Charges


Peter Nygard, the Canadian model govt, has been charged with intercourse trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and different crimes that concerned dozens of ladies and teen women as sufferers within the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned on Tuesday.

Mr. Nygard, 79, used his corporate’s affect, its cash and its workers to recruit grownup and “minor-aged feminine sufferers” over a 25-year length for the sexual gratification of him and his mates, in step with a nine-count federal indictment. He was once arrested in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Monday on the request of the United States underneath an extradition treaty, the U.S. legal professional’s place of business in Manhattan mentioned. He is now being held in a Manitoba prison.

The indictment accused Mr. Nygard of focused on sufferers from deprived financial backgrounds and, in some instances, with a historical past of abuse. Mr. Nygard sexually assaulted some, it mentioned, whilst his mates assaulted or drugged others “to verify their compliance with Nygard’s sexual calls for.”

Jay Prober, the trend rich person’s attorney in Winnipeg, denied the costs in opposition to his shopper, announcing he anticipated Mr. Nygard to be vindicated. His attorney in New York, Elkan Abramowitz, declined to remark.

As just lately as two years in the past, Mr. Nygard plastered his symbol on billboards round Winnipeg — dressed in a decent blouse that exposed glistening biceps and flowing hair. In court docket in Winnipeg on Tuesday, he gave the impression vulnerable and shaky, dressed in a sweatshirt and his hair in a messy bun. Chains certain his wrists and ankles.

He was once ordered to be held pending additional court docket complaints. A bail listening to was once scheduled for Jan. 13, however Mr. Prober mentioned he deliberate to hunt a listening to as early as subsequent week. Although Canadian courts typically grant extradition to the United States, the method can take years.

In February, The New York Times detailed how an extended, unpleasant feud between Mr. Nygard and his neighbor within the Bahamas resulted in a lawsuit accusing Mr. Nygard of sexually assaulting minors there. In the thing, dozens of ladies and previous workers described how alleged sufferers had been lured to Mr. Nygard’s house.

The struggle between Mr. Nygard and his neighbor, Louis Bacon, a hedge fund billionaire, sophisticated issues. Two of the ladies who to begin with mentioned Mr. Nygard raped them later recanted, announcing they had been paid to manufacture their claims.

For years, Mr. Nygard blamed Mr. Bacon for any allegations in opposition to him. But The Times documented a trend of lawsuits stretching again 4 many years, smartly prior to the feud, and confirmed how Mr. Nygard used his cash and threats to silence his alleged sufferers.

The indictment options probably the most similar allegations because the lawsuit, which was once filed in New York in February. More than 80 ladies have signed on as plaintiffs.

Tamika Ferguson, a plaintiff within the lawsuit, mentioned Mr. Nygard raped her in 2004 all over a celebration at his house, when she was once 16. She mentioned she was once crushed after finding out concerning the indictment.

“I think the most efficient I’ve felt in a very long time,” she mentioned on Tuesday.

April Telek, 47, a Canadian actress, mentioned she was once raped and held in opposition to her will via Mr. Nygard in 1993, after going to his corporate’s Winnipeg warehouse for a modeling task. She could also be a part of the lawsuit and has given a observation to the Winnipeg police, however has no longer been contacted via American government.

“If he will get put away, this is the place he belongs,” Ms. Telek mentioned. “I don’t care if it’s my case or any of the opposite deficient sufferers that he has traumatized over the last 40 years.”

The fees in opposition to Mr. Nygard had been introduced on Tuesday via the U.S. legal professional’s place of business, the F.B.I. and the New York Police Department. The Times reported in February that the investigation was once being carried out via a joint kid exploitation activity power.

A court docket affidavit via the Canadian government filed in Winnipeg mentioned that Mr. Nygard’s sufferers integrated women elderly 14 to 17, and that his legal behavior had affected loads. It described “tactics of mental regulate” during which sufferers had been “continuously surveilled” and had “little to no regulate over their skill to depart premises with out Nygard’s permission.”

Federal government up to now investigated Mr. Nygard on allegations of intercourse trafficking between 2015 and 2017 with out submitting any fees. The F.B.I. carried out two temporary inquiries, whilst the Department of Homeland Security investigated him for 9 months.

For many years, Mr. Nygard portrayed himself as a playboy, describing the younger ladies and teen women he surrounded himself with as “the supply of juvenile,” in step with a video he produced about his makes an attempt to struggle growing older. He dated celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith and fathered a minimum of 10 kids with 8 ladies. Born in Finland, he grew up in Canada, launching his multinational model corporate, Nygard International, in Winnipeg greater than 50 years in the past.

He divided his time between Canada, the United States 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 Wonder of the World.”

The indictment charged that Mr. Nygard used the chance of modeling and different model business jobs to trap ladies and teen women. It mentioned that he additionally he used corporate finances to pay for so-called pamper events. There, workers informed The Times, he recruited sufferers with unfastened beverages, manicures and massages.

He pressured dozens of sufferers to interact in “business intercourse,” outlined in federal legislation 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 give a boost to to deal with regulate, the indictment mentioned.

Nygard International, a privately held corporate that after claimed to make use of 12,000 other folks, is understood principally for promoting leggings and tops to middle-age ladies via its personal retailers and division shops in Canada and the United States.

Mr. Nygard, estimated to be price kind of $750 million in 2014 via Canadian Business magazine, was once recognized to mix his skilled and private lives. He constructed lavish residences in his place of business constructions. A 1980 information article described a space of his Winnipeg place of business as a “pastime pit” with a reflected ceiling and a sofa that reworked right into a mattress on the “push of a button.”

He stepped down from his corporate in February, after federal government raided his house in Los Angeles and company headquarters in New York, and primary shoppers like the dept retailer chain Dillard’s dropped his model strains. In March, the corporate filed for chapter in Canada and within the United States.

William Ok. Rashbaum and Kim Wheeler contributed reporting.