LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested in Winnipeg amid claims he trafficked and sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls and women.
Court records show Nygard, who is 79, was arrested under the Extradition Act and was to appear in a Winnipeg courtroom on Tuesday afternoon.
A nine-count indictment unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the NYPD allege Nygard used various tools to recruit women and minors for sex, including events hosted at his properties in Marina del Rey and in the Bahamas, including so-called “Pamper Parties,” named for the free food, drink, and spa services that Nygard made available.
According to prosecutors, Nygard frequently used a “girlfriend” or another employee to approach a chosen woman or girl to indicate his interest in sex. He then allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the victim on the premises and paid her cash.
Some unwilling participants, including minors, were drugged to force their compliance with his sexual demands, prosecutors said. Other victims, according to the indictment, had no advance warning of Nygard’s interest in sexual activity before being lured to a secluded area of the property where he then used physical force and/or psychological pressure to coerce sex.
In February, the FBI raided Nygard’s offices in New York and Los Angeles. Investigators
searched the designer’s Times Square offices less than two weeks after 10 women filed a lawsuit accusing Nygard of enticing young and impoverished women to his estate in the Bahamas with cash and promises of modeling opportunities.
Several plaintiffs in the suit said they were 14 or 15 years old when Nygard gave them alcohol or drugs and then raped them.
The women frequently came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds and, in some cases, had a history of abuse, the prosecutors said in the statement.
The designer is facing a class action lawsuit in the United States alleging the sexual assault of dozens of women.
Fifty-seven women — including 18 Canadians — have joined the lawsuit, which alleges that Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.
Nygard has denied all allegations and blames a conspiracy caused by a feud with his billionaire neighbor in the Bahamas.
(Copyright 2020 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)