Banners in front of Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard's headquarters in Winnipeg are shown on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Nygard is to have a bail hearing after his arrest in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act over charges in the United States of using his influence to traffic women and girls for sex. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard to apply for bail in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard is expected to seek bail today following his arrest in Winnipeg last month over charges he faces in the United States of using his influence to lure women and girls for sex.

Nygard, who is 79, was arrested in December under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the southern District of New York, including racketeering and sex trafficking.

Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office allege Nygard frequently targeted women and underage girls from disadvantaged economic backgrounds with promises of modelling and other financial opportunities.

They allege the criminal conduct occurred over 25 years and involved dozens of women in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations.

Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, has said his client denies all the allegations.

Prober had said he would pursue bail because of concerns over Nygard’s health behind bars.

The U.S. indictment alleges Nygard forcibly sexually assaulted many women and girls, some who were between 14 and 17 years old. It alleges others were forcibly assaulted by Nygard’s associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands.

Nygard stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February.

The fashion mogul is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. with similar allegations involving 57 women, including 18 Canadians. It alleges Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.

The lawsuit was put on pause in August. While reasons for the stay in the suit were sealed, the court docket said it resulted from a government motion that named three federal prosecutors — an indication the criminal investigation was proceeding.

Two of Nygard’s sons filed a separate lawsuit against him months later claiming they were statutorily raped at his direction when they were teens. The sons allege Nygard arranged for a woman to have sex with them.

Nygard has said through his lawyer that he denies all the allegations in the lawsuits. He has blamed the accusations on a feud with his billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas.

Nygard came to Canada as a child from Finland with his parents in 1942. He founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967 and it grew to become a brand name sold in stores around the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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