Canadian fashion icon Peter Nygard was arrested by authorities and charged with alleged sexual abuse of women and girls that he brought in close with his connection to the fashion and modeling world in the last 25 years.
The 79-year-old Nygard attended a court appearance on Tuesday in Winnipeg, Canada. Authorities arrested the suspect on Monday after U.S. officials requested his capture. Nygard is set to return to court on January 13 but was not yet given a date for a bail hearing. The suspect’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, and a spokesperson for Nygard, both declined to comment on the case.
Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Nygard’s offices in Manhattan. Authorities later arrested the suspect on charges of sex trafficking, racketeering, and other related charges.
Before the raid, ten women sued Nygard for allegedly enticing and sexually abusing poor young women. They said he brought them to his Bahamas estate, attracting them with his money and promises of a fashion and model industry career. Some of the victims were allegedly 14 or 15 years old when the suspect raped them.
The suspect has denied all allegations against him and claims that his billionaire neighbor in the Bahamas forged the stories to frame him.
Authorities said Nygard took advantage of his connections and power to persuade his victims to follow his orders. One indictment noted how the suspect used the Nygard Group’s influence to recruit women and underage girls. The documents alleged Nygard coerced the victims before sexually abusing and assaulting them.
The indictment also wrote that dozens of adult and minor-aged women were victimized and forced into commercial sex. It added that Nygard referred to some of his victims as “girlfriends” or “assistants” to maintain personal and quasi-professional relationships with them. He allegedly brought them around as he traveled to abuse the victims sexually.
The documents said Nygard conspired with some of his associates and colleagues with his schemes. It alleged he ordered them to recruit some of the victims into his inner circle. Nygard allegedly conducted his crimes at several of his properties in Marina del Rey, California, and in the Bahamas.
There are 57 women, 18 of whom are Canadian, who have joined the lawsuit against Nygard and his alleged sexual abuse crimes. The documents also noted that the suspect bribed Bahaman officials to entice victims in several regions, KRON4 reported.
Authorities alleged that Nygard kept a private database stored on a corporate server that listed thousands of his victims’ names. The women that have accused the suspect said their passports were taken from them after arriving in the Bahamas.
A spokesman for Nygard said the suspect was relinquishing his position as chairman of Nygard companies and let go of his ownership interest.