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Finnish Fashion Mogul Arrested In Canada Over U.S. Sex Trafficking Allegations

WINNIPEG — Finnish-Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard is in official custody after being charged with sex trafficking.

Court records show the 79-year-old Nygard was arrested under the Extradition Act, in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

He is currently being held at the Winnipeg Remand Center and is to appear in a Canadian courtroom this afternoon.

Nygard has been under investigation for allegations of sexual assault in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas. The FBI raided his offices in New York and Los Angeles in February of this year.

“The survivors of our lawsuit have been waiting for this day for a very long time,” Lisa Haba, one of the lawyers representing victims who are suing Nygard alleging rape and sexual assault, told CBC News.

“Peter Nygard’s arrest marks the next chapter in holding him and his accomplices accountable for the unspeakable crimes against women and children they have perpetuated for decades. We will continue to seek justice.”

A total of 57 women have joined a class-action lawsuit accusing Nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking — in some cases the allegations go back as far as 1977.

It was filed earlier this year in New York.

The lawsuit also names a number of upper-level Nygard company executives, officers and directors who are accused of enabling the sex assaults.

The class action was put on hold in August when a judge presiding over the case in the Southern District of New York entered a stay of proceedings, court records show. 

A stay of proceedings means the case has been put on hold, but it doesn’t mean it’s been dropped. The court can later lift the stay and continue the proceedings.  

“On behalf of the dozens of survivors of decades-long abuse, we are encouraged that a small measure of justice for Peter Nygard is finally developing,” said Greg Gutzler, another lawyer representing complainants against Nygard said today about the fashion mogul’s arrest. 

“We are relieved that some measure of accountability is hopefully forthcoming, but we would be remiss if we did not state that this is something that should have been done decades ago.”

Nygard denies all allegations

Nygard, 79, is a Canadian-based clothing manufacturer. His companies, in the past, were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Virgin Islands Free Press has spoken directly with multiple women who say they were raped or sexually assaulted by Nygard.

Nygard denies all the allegations and none of them have been proven in court. Nygard has also called all of the allegations lies.

In the past, Nygard has been listed as one of the richest Canadians. His empire once included a palatial estate in the Bahamas, with administrative and production facilities in Winnipeg, Toronto, Los Angeles and a world headquarters in New York.

In March of 2020, nine of his companies were forced into receivership by the courts in Manitoba, Canada. Nygard’s companies owe millions of dollars to several creditors.

The Bahamas Supreme Court sentenced Nygard to 90 days in prison and fined him $150,000 for contempt of court in a long-running legal dispute centered around an environmental group’s stolen emails.

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