Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard will be back in court Friday morning to apply for bail on charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement in Toronto.
Nygard, 80, has been in custody since he was arrested at a Winnipeg house last December on separate sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy charges in the United States.
Those charges relate to “a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The arrest warrant in Winnipeg was requested by the FBI, which raided Nygard’s offices in New York and Los Angeles in February 2020.
Then, on Oct. 1, Toronto police issued an arrest warrant for Nygard on the charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to incidents that allegedly happened in the city from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s.
Nygard was flown from Winnipeg to Toronto at the end of October to appear in court on those charges.
During a brief hearing at the end of October, the court heard they involve seven different women whom Nygard was ordered not to have any contact with and whose identities were placed under a publication ban.
His bail hearing on the Toronto charges was set to go ahead two weeks ago but it was adjourned to Nov. 26.
Awaiting extradition decision
The same day the Toronto charges were announced, Nygard signed a consent form agreeing to bypass the court extradition process for the charges in the United States and move straight to ministerial review by Justice Minister David Lametti.
The federal justice department has said it will be up to the minister to decide whether Nygard’s extradition would await the outcome of the Canadian charges. Lametti’s decision on the matter is still pending.
Nygard tried unsuccessfully to get bail as part of the extradition process after a judge said she was not satisfied that the bail plan laid out by his defence lawyers would ensure he would not contact witnesses or have others contact them.
He appealed and lost. In September, the Supreme Court of Canada denied his request to hear his case.
The charges Nygard faces in Toronto are the first against him in Canada.
Winnipeg police have investigated eight complaints from women about Nygard. Those files were sent to prosecutors for review last December.
A Manitoba Justice spokesperson said in September they were reviewing the files but wouldn’t say whether charges will be laid.
In February 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York accusing Nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking, with some allegations going back as far as 1977.
That lawsuit has been put on hold until the criminal case against Nygard has concluded.
Nygard is the founder of women’s clothing company Nygard International, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
None of the allegations against Nygard have been proven in court, and he has maintained his innocence throughout the court process.
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