Peter Nygard, Finnish-Canadian Fashion Mogul, Indicted on Federal Sex-Trafficking Charges
A Finnish-Canadian former fashion executive has been arrested in Canada after being indicted in the U.S. on nine federal counts relating to racketeering, sex trafficking and more.
Peter Nygard was taken into custody Monday in Winnipeg amid allegations that he had engaged in inappropriate, illegal conduct with both "adult and minor-aged female victims" within a 25-year span, from 1995 to 2020, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said.
The indictment — which was filed on Nov. 23 but not made public until Tuesday — alleges that Nygard, 79, and others who worked with him drugged and sexually assaulted some victims for the "sexual gratification" of himself and "his friends and business associates."
Nygard is further being accused of targeting minors and women from "disadvantaged economic backgrounds" who'd suffered abuse in the past.
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Nygard's alleged actions took place in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas, the indictment states.
The fashion mogul forcibly sexually assaulted, drugged, and coerced victims "into sexual contact," said the indictment, after often leveraging the guise of jobs in the modeling and fashion industry to "lure victims into Nygard's orbit and keep them there."
Nygard is being held in a jail in the Canadian province of Manitoba, and, according to The New York Times, plans to seek out a bail hearing as soon as next week despite one being scheduled for Jan. 13.
Nygard's arrest comes almost 10 months after his New York office was raided amid sex-trafficking allegations against him. He also stepped down as chairman of Nygard International in February.
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The tycoon's Winnipeg-based attorney, Jay Prober, tells PEOPLE that his client "vehemently denies these allegations and fully expects to be vindicated in court."
"The judge in the Canadian court said yesterday, 'Cloaked with the presumption of innocence,' and these are only allegations at this point," he continues. "The issue now is extradition — he's facing no charges whatsoever in Canada, but these are charges out of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York."
Prober says that they "just received the extradition materials yesterday morning" and were in court for Nygard's first appearance at 1 p.m. CT that day, adding that they "expect to make a bail application to have him released pending the extradition proceedings ... hopefully within the week."
Nygard's New York-based attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, declined to comment on the case.