WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested in Winnipeg. Court records show Nygard, 79, was arrested under the Extradition Act and is set to appear in a Winnipeg courtroom this afternoon.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Nygard faces a nine-count indictment in the United States on racketeering, sex trafficking, and related crimes.
Manhattan federal prosecutors stated Nygard’s charges relate to a “decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations.”
Earlier this year, U.S. federal authorities raided the Manhattan headquarters of the Canadian fashion mogul in February. This search came amid claims he trafficked and sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls and women.
The FBI 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.
According to prosecutors, from 1995 to 2020, Nygard used his international fashion brand to recruit and pay for sex with the victims, who were put on the payroll as “models” or “assistants.”
Prosecutors said Nygard allegedly referred to the victims as his “girlfriends,” which required them to travel and stay with him at his palatial properties in California, the Bahamas, and Canada.
According to the press release, Nygard allegedly hosted so-called “Pamper Parties,” named for their buffet, open bar, and spa treatments, to recruit more girls and young women.
According to prosecutors, he allegedly would use a “girlfriend” or employee to scout out a chosen victim — who would then be forced into sexual activity and paid in cash.
Prosecutors said Nygard also is accused of hosting sexual “swaps” with other friends and business associates, who would bring a “date” to trade for sex with one of his “girlfriends.”
Nygard kept the “girlfriends” under constant surveillance, insisting they needed his permission to leave the properties, prosecutors said.
According to the AP, several of Nygard’s victims claim they were 14 or 15 years old when the fashion mogul gave them alcohol or drugs and then raped them.