Canada arrests fashion exec accused in US of sex crimes

By: AFP      Published: 04:26 PM, 16 Dec, 2020
Canada arrests fashion exec accused in US of sex crimes

Canadian police announced Tuesday the arrest of fashion executive Peter Nygard at the request of the US justice system, which is seeking his extradition to stand trial for sex crimes.

The Finnish-Canadian millionaire was arrested Monday in Winnipeg, in the central province of Manitoba, "to face charges in ongoing @FBI and @NYPDnews investigation," tweeted Canada's federal police, the RCMP, referring to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City police department.

The arrest stemmed from a request from the US Department of Justice to its Canadian counterpart "to initiate extradition against Nygard," the tweet said.

Nygard, 79, faces nine charges, including racketeering and sex trafficking, involving "at least a dozen victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations," the New York federal attorney in charge of the case said in a statement.

The crimes allegedly took place between 1990 and 2020. Nygard and his alleged accomplices, including employees of his group, "used force, fraud, and coercion to cause women and minors to have sex" with them, the statement said.

The FBI and New York police raided Nygard's Manhattan corporate headquarters in February as part of a sex-trafficking probe.

Nygard had been under investigation over the accusations for at least five months, according to The New York Times, which broke the news of the raids.

The fashion executive, whose fortune is estimated by Canadian media to be worth some Can$900 million ($700 million), denied all accusations reported by the Times.

In February, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Nygard in New York federal court alleging that he raped several unnamed women.

His case draws parallels with that of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was awaiting trial on charges he sex-trafficked young girls, including to his Virgin Islands estate, when he killed himself in a New York jail last year.