WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested in Winnipeg.
Court records show Nygard, who is 79, was arrested under the Extradition Act and was to appear in a Winnipeg courtroom on Tuesday afternoon.
Early this year U.S. federal authorities raided Nygard’s Manhattan headquarters, a search that came amid claims he trafficked and sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls and women.
The FBI searched the designer’s Times Square offices less than two weeks after 10 women filed a lawsuit accusing Nygard of enticing young and impoverished women to his estate in the Bahamas with cash and promises of modeling opportunities.
Several plaintiffs in the suit said they were 14 or 15 years old when Nygard gave them alcohol or drugs and then raped them.
The designer is facing a class action lawsuit in the United States alleging the sexual assault of dozens of women.
Fifty-seven women — including 18 Canadians — have joined the lawsuit, which alleges that Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.
Nygard has denied all allegations and blames a conspiracy caused by a feud with his billionaire neighbor in the Bahamas.
Nygard International began in Winnipeg as a sportswear manufacturer. Its website says its retail division has more than 170 stores in North America.
The class-action lawsuit says Nygard used his company, bribery of Bahamian officials and “considerable influence in the fashion industry” to recruit victims in the Bahamas, United States and Canada.
It alleges he plied the young women with drugs and alcohol during “pamper parties” and kept a database on a corporate server containing the names of thousands of potential victims.
Nygard’s victims would have their passports taken from them when they were flown into the Bahamas, the lawsuit alleges, adding the designer “expected a sex act before he was willing to consider releasing any person” from his estate.
A spokesman for Nygard said earlier this year he was stepping down as chairman of Nygard companies and will divest his ownership interest.