Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested on charges of sex trafficking of women, including minors, US authorities announced on Tuesday.
Nygard was arrested Monday in the Canadian city of Winnipeg at the request of federal prosecutors in New York, under the extradition treaty maintained by the two countries.
The 79-year-old businessman is indicted on nine counts, including sex trafficking and criminal association, for “criminal conduct” that has lasted for “decades,” according to US authorities.
The indictment released Tuesday says Nygard used the influence and money from his fashion business to “recruit and maintain adult and minor victims” for his “sexual gratification” and that of his friends and associates.
According to prosecutors, Nygard and his accomplices used force, coercion and fraud to make the victims have sexual relations with him and other people over a period of 25 years.
They point out that the plot was looking for women and minors in financially difficult situations or who had a history of abuse and that they were controlled with threats, false promises about opportunities in the world of fashion, financial support and other coercive measures, which they included constant surveillance and restriction of their movement.
In addition, prosecutors accuse Nygard of forcibly sexually assaulting some of his victims and say some were drugged to comply with his “sexual demands.”
In the letter, the authorities point out that the magnate had an “almost professional” relationship with some of the victims , whom he referred to as his “girlfriends” or “assistants” and whom he forced to have sexual relations with him and others and to recruit to new women and minors.
Last February, agents of the FBI and the New York Police already searched the New York headquarters of their company in the framework of this investigation, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan confirmed to Efe at the time.
The case was opened after several women accused Nygard of having sexually abused them in the Bahamas, where he has a mansion. According to The New York Times, the accusations were collected at the initiative of Louis Bacon, an American billionaire who has another mansion next to his property in the Bahamas and who had a confrontation with him.
Nygard, the owner of a women’s fashion brand, is a well-known billionaire in Canada, with a fortune estimated in 2014 at around $ 750 million, according to Canadian Business magazine.