Canadian fashion mogul accused of sex trafficking denied bail

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OTTAWA – Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard on Friday (Feb 5) was denied bail while he fights extradition to the United States to stand trial for sex crimes.

Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Shawn Deborah Greenberg, reading her decision in a teleconference from Winnipeg, said she was satisfied with the security arrangements proposed by the defence for his release.

But she expressed worry that Nygard might interfere with witnesses or victims, noting that he had breached court orders on at least five past occasions.

The also dismissed Nygard’s expressed concerns at the age of 79 about the risks of contracting the coronavirus in detention, noting there have been only seven cases among an inmate population of 500 at the Manitoba jail where he is being held.

Nygard, who appeared via video link, sat expressionless as the decision was handed down, according to local media in the courtroom.

The defence, Greenberg said, had submitted a “strong bail plan” to prevent any risk of flight, with tight security monitoring of his house arrest.

But she added it would only be effective “in controlling his physical location.”

“It does not assure that he won’t contact victims or witnesses or that he will not engage others to do so,” Greenberg said, noting that he has used employees in the past to facilitate deceptions.

She also said his financial disclosures to the court – that he was impoverished since the collapse of his fashion empire – were not credible.

And she highlighted the seriousness of accusations against him, calling the sex trafficking allegations “disturbing.”

Nygard 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.

Nygard, who has been in Canadian custody since mid-December, has denied the accusations.

A date for his extradition hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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