A Canadian fashion executive, who was once listed as one of the richest Canadians, is in custody and facing extradition to the U.S. on sexual assault–related charges.
RCMP announced today (December 15) that Manitoba RCMP investigators and the Winnipeg Police Service arrested 79-year-old Peter Nygård in Winnipeg on December 14.
The arrest is in conjunction with a request from the United States for Canada to initiate extradition of Nygård to face charges in the U.S. in an investigation by the FBI and the New York Police Department.
Nygård is remanded in custody pending a bail hearing and extradition proceedings.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced today in a news release that Nygård is facing a nine-count indictment on charges of “racketeering, sex trafficking, and related crimes arising out of a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations”.
The attorney’s office said that since at least 1995 to the present, Nygård used his position as the head of Nygård International headquartered in Winnipeg (which has offices and warehouses in the U.S.) for sexual purposes. He founded the womenswear company in 1967.
“Over this 25-year period, Nygård used the Nygård Group’s influence, as well as its employees, funds, and other resources, to recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims for Nygård’s sexual gratification and the sexual gratification of his friends and business associates,” the attorney’s office news release states. “Nygård and his co-conspirators, including Nygård Group employees, used force, fraud, and coercion to cause women and minors to have sex with Nygård and others.”
The indictment says that Nygård “targeted women and minor-aged girls who came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds and/or who had a history of abuse”.
It says he used “threats, false promises of modelling opportunities, and other career advancement, financial support, and by other coercive means, including constant surveillance, restrictions of movement, and physical isolation” to control his victims.
In addition, it states that Nygård “forcibly sexually assaulted some of his victims” while some were “forcibly assaulted by Nygård’s associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands”.
Nygård was reported to have stepped down as chairman of his company in February after FBI investigators raided his New York offices and 10 women filed a class-action lawsuit against Nygård.
Anyone who believes that they are a victim of sexual abuse by Nygård is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI with reference to this case.