Peter Nygard—the fashion designer behind the company that was once Canada’s largest producer of women’s apparel—has been indicted on nine counts for sex trafficking and racketeering crimes allegedly involving dozens of women over multiple decades, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan announced Tuesday.
According to the announcement, Nygard, 79, was taken into custody by Canadian authorities on Monday at the request of the United States under the two countries’ extradition treaty.
The fashion mogul is being accused of a “decades-long pattern of criminal conduct” which allegedly involves dozens of victims—some underage—in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations, per federal prosecutors.
An indictment unsealed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court alleges that since at least 1995, Nygard used the influence of his company, Nygard Group, as well as its employees and funds, to “recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims” for his own sexual gratification, and for his business associates and friends.
Nygard would target women and minor-aged girls who came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds or had a history of abuse, according to the indictment, and allegedly controlled the victims through threats, false promises of career advancement, financial support and other “coercive means,” including “constant surveillance, restrictions of movement and physical isolation.”
“Nygard forcibly sexually assaulted some of his victims,” says the indictment, while “other victims were forcibly assaulted by NYGARD’s associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands.”
Nygard founded his international clothing design, manufacturing and supply business, Nygard International, more than 50 years ago. It wasn’t until the FBI raided his company headquarters in Februrary of this year as part of the investigation into sex trafficking accusations that he stepped down as chairman.
$817 million. That’s how much Nygard’s net worth was in 2009, according to Canadian Business Magazine, which ranked him the 80th richest Canadian at the time.
“Peter Nygard Answers To No One” (Forbes)