The FBI and New York City police have raided the Times Square headquarters of Canadian Peter Nygard’s fashion house.
Nygard, who started his fashion empire in Winnipeg, is being investigated for sex trafficking. Ten women recently filed a civil lawsuit against him.
They allege Nygard promised them modelling opportunities but they ended up drugged and engaged in sex acts at “pamper parties” at his estate in the Bahamas.
The raid happened Tuesday morning.
Nygard has denied the allegations but said he is co-operating with the federal investigation. None of the 10 women accusing Nygard in the filing have been named in the nearly 100-page suit. None of the allegations against Nygard have been proven in court.
A statement of defence has yet to be filed.
After the lawsuit was filed, more than 100 people, including dozens of victims, have come forward with information, according to lawyers representing alleged victims.
“Since filing a rape and sex trafficking class action lawsuit last week … we have received information from over 100 witnesses, including dozens of victims, who have come forward with additional evidence relating to alleged rape and sexual abuse,” said lawyers Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba on Feb. 18, who are representing the alleged victims in the suit.
The lawsuit named Nygard himself, who is the founder and chair of Nygard International Partnership and Nygard Holding Ltd.
All three are named in the lawsuit as defendants, with the suit stating his companies were knowing participants in Nygard’s “decades-long sex trafficking scheme.”
Nygard’s Winnipeg lawyer called the allegations a conspiracy orchestrated by Nygard’s enemies.
He has been embroiled in several lawsuits with his neighbours over the past several years surrounding activities at his home in the Bahamas.
“My firm view is that they’re doing it because it’s part of a well-orchestrated media campaign by those involved in a conspiracy to bring Nygard down,” said his Winnipeg lawyer, Jay Prober.
— with files from the Canadian Press
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