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Canadian fashion mogul accused of rape, sexual trafficking in class-action lawsuit

Fashion mogul Peter Nygard, clad in a rich eggplant tie and slick black suit, raises a fist in triumph while sitting front-and-centre at his show with Yves-Lauren.
Fashion mogul Peter Nygard, clad in a rich eggplant tie and slick black suit, raises a fist in triumph while sitting front-and-centre at his show with Yves-Lauren.

Ten unidentified women have filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard of rape and sexual trafficking.

In a press release on the lawsuit released Thursday, the women state that “Nygard lured and enticed young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women with cash payments and false promises of lucrative modelling opportunities in order to assault, rape, and sodomize them. When the victims were not swayed by promises, many were drugged to force compliance with Nygard’s sexual desires.”

Many of the women were younger than 18 at the time of the alleged assaults.

Nygard, 77, is the fashion executive, founder and chairman of Winnipeg-based Nygård International, known for making and selling women wear.

According to the press release, Nygard would instruct his employees to “procure” the children and then take them to lavish “pamper parties”, where they were “plied with drugs and alcohol” and then violently assaulted. In one of the cases, Nygard brought a 15-year-old girl to his mansion in the Bahamas, where he attempted to sodomize her, raped her and then asked her to defecate in his mouth before offering her cash.

Many of the alleged incidents occurred at Nygard’s luxury Mayan-style mansion at Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, according to the release.

“After hearing these tragic stories, we were compelled to act and bring a voice to those who have been hurt for so long,” said Greg Gutzler, one of the lawyers who filed the suit. “ We know many others were afraid to come forward initially and hope that this lawsuit will pave the way for them to also seek justice.

“The facts in this case represent the tip of the iceberg of an international sex trafficking ring that ends today.”

Jay Prober, a lawyer in Winnipeg representing Nygard, said the accusations in the class action suit were false. Prober told the Globe and Mail that the suit stems from a dispute between Nygard and his neighbour in the Bahamas, hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon.

A spokesperson for Nygard, Ken Frydman, said in a statement that the lawsuit was “just the latest in a 10-plus year string of attempts to try to destroy the reputation of a man through false statements.”

“The allegations are completely false, without foundation and are vigorously denied,” Frydman told the New York Post.

“Peter Nygard looks forward to fully exposing this scam and once and for all clearing his name.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, also mentions several of Nygard’s New York-based corporate entities for their role in “financing, facilitating and covering up the abuse.”

This hasn’t been the first time Nygard has been accused of sexual assault. In the 1990s, he paid to settle three sexual harassment complaints filed by former employees in Manitoba. Last November, Tribune 242, a Bahamas newspaper, published that the police were investigated six allegations of rape made against Nygard. “The complaint alleges that f or years, it has been no secret that Nygard bribes Bahamian government and police officials and uses intimidation tactics to coerce silence,” reads the press release.

“Sex crimes are widely under-investigated and often swept under the rug,” said Lisa Haba of Haba Law Firm, who also filed the suit. “With this lawsuit, we aim to give these victims a voice and hold Mr. Nygard, and his network of accomplices, accountable for their horrendous conduct. The abuse stops here.”

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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