Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard plans to seek bail in a Winnipeg courtroom Tuesday following his arrest last month in an extradition case involving U.S. charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
The special sitting is expected to last two days.
Nygard, who is 79, was arrested in December under the Extradition Act and faces nine federal counts filed in the Southern District of New York. He is expected to attend the hearing via a live remote.
Authorities in the U.S. accuse Nygard of using his influence in the fashion industry to lure women and girls with the promise of modelling and other financial opportunities.
Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office allege Nygard frequently targeted women and underage girls from disadvantaged economic backgrounds with promises of modelling and other financial opportunities.
They allege the criminal conduct occurred over 25 years and involved dozens of women in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations.
Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, has said his client denies the allegations. He has blamed the accusations on a feud with his billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas.
Prober and lawyer Richard Wolson said earlier this month that Nygard is in poor health and that he is at particular risk for contracting COVID-19 in jail.
“In effect, to delay this matter is to play Russian roulette with this health,” Wolson said.
“It’s clear that he is a prime candidate to contract COVID. And if he were, the outcome would be a very serious one. According to the evidence, that would be before the court, COVID would likely kill him.”
Lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada say Nygard has a history of not showing up to court and has the means to flee.
Prober said Nygard wasn’t a flight risk and even offered to turn himself into Winnipeg police earlier in 2020.
The fashion mogul is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. with similar allegations involving 57 women, including 18 Canadians. It alleges Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.
Two of Nygard’s sons filed a separate lawsuit against him months later claiming they were statutorily raped at his direction when they were teens. The sons allege Nygard arranged for a woman to have sex with them.
— with files from the Canadian Press
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