Former Canadian retail mogul Peter Nygard, once the founder of one of the largest women’s clothing brands in the country, was rolled by wheelchair into a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning as the sexual assault case against him began.
(Bloomberg) — Former Canadian retail mogul Peter Nygard, once the founder of one of the largest women’s clothing brands in the country, was rolled by wheelchair into a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning as the sexual assault case against him began.
Crown prosecutor Ana Serban accused the disgraced business magnate of using his power and influence in the fashion industry to lure young women to his company’s Toronto headquarters, promising them modeling and hostess work, or financial support, and then sexually assaulting them.
Mr. Nygard has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement.
Wearing amber-tinted glasses, the 82-year-old showed little reaction as Serban read the detailed accounts of each of the five womens’ sexual assault and confinement accusations. The women, whose names were omitted due to a court-imposed publication ban, were allegedly assaulted between the late 1980s and mid-2000s. The victims’ ages ranged from their late 20s to as young as 16 years old. Nygard allegedly met many of the victims on trips to the Bahamas where he owned property.
The court described a private suite located inside corporate headquarters where Nygard allegedly took victims during tours of the building and then trapped them for the duration of the sexual assaults. The doors to the room had no handles and the remote-controlled locks were operated by Nygard, the court heard.
Nygard was arrested in late 2020 in Manitoba, facing trafficking charges involving women and girls over the course of 25 years, which he denied. Nygard could face life in prison if convicted. In October 2021, Nygard agreed to US extradition to face racketeering and human trafficking charges.
Nygard founded his company Nygard International in 1967, which grew to be one of the largest women’s clothing retailers in Canada. It filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2020.
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