Peter Nygard, the former executive of his multinational women’s fashion company Nygard International, has agreed to extradition to the U.S. to face charges of sex trafficking women and underage girls, and racketeering for over 25 years, a Canadian government lawyer said at a court hearing on Friday.
Nygard, who denies the charges, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
Since his arrest by the Canadian authorities last year at the request of the U.S. under the two countries’ extradition treaty, the 80-year-old fashion mogul has been held in jail outside Winnipeg, where he has failed in his attempts for bail.
U.S. prosecutors say Nygard hosted “pamper parties” at multiple locations in the U.S., including his properties in Marina del Rey, California, and the Bahamas.
He allegedly used his company, Nygard International Partnership’s resources to control the victims through threats, false promises of career advancement, surveillance and physical isolation.
Nygard also faces allegations stretching back to 1995 of targeting women and underaged girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in his scheme that involved sexual assault through illegal drugs without victims’ knowledge.
Earlier this week, Toronto police issued an arrest warrant for Nygard for alleged sexual assaults between 1987 and 2005, with six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement, according to the Toronto Star.
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Canada’s justice minister has to decide whether to transfer Nygard to the U.S., said Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada, which is representing the U.S. government.
Nygard stepped down as chairman of Nygard International, a multinational women’s fashion company he founded in 1967, in February 2020. This came after the U.S. law enforcement authorities raided Nygard International’s headquarters in Manhattan as part of an investigation into the sex trafficking allegations. Nygard International filed for bankruptcy in Canada and the U.S. a month after the raid. Bankruptcy filings in Canada show that Nygard’s company had 150 million Canadian dollars more in liabilities than in assets, the New York Times reported. The company had around 170 stores in North America and 6,000 more shops inside department stores and employed more than 1,400 people when it filed for bankruptcy.
Nygard reportedly promoted his stories of hedonism and stem cell injections, and the Washington Post said he portrayed himself as a playboy often spotted with women years younger than him at Oscar viewing parties in Beverly Hills. Nygard was born in Finland and raised in Manitoba, Winnipeg. He was ranked the 80th wealthiest Canadian in 2009 with a net worth of $817 million, according to Canadian Business Magazine.