Peter Nygard, the Canadian fashion retailer, has been charged on charges of sex trafficking, extortion and other crimes involving dozens of women, some of whom are minors, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Tuesday.
Mr. Nygard, 79, has been charged with “a decades-long pattern of criminal behavior” in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, prosecutors said.
Mr. Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg on Monday at the request of the United States under an extradition treaty, the US law firm in Manhattan said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Mr. Nygard used the influence of his company and its employees to “recruit and sustain adult and underage female victims” for a period of 25 years for the sexual gratification of himself and his employees.
The women often came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds and in some cases had a history of abuse, prosecutors said in the statement.
Mr. Nygard sexually assaulted some of his alleged victims, while others were assaulted or drugged by his associates “to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands,” prosecutors said.
Mr. Nygard, who had a reputation as a playboy and once described the young women he surrounded himself with as ‘the source of youth’, launched his multinational fashion company in Winnipeg more than 50 years ago.
He dropped out of Nygard International in February after federal authorities raided his Los Angeles home and headquarters in New York and major customers dropped his fashion lines.
Mr. Nygard was in custody with the authorities in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and could not be immediately reached for comment. Mr. Nygard’s lawyer in New York, Elkan Abramowitz, declined to comment on the allegations.