Fashion executive Peter Nygard, known for his flamboyant style and long gray hair, appeared briefly in a Toronto court as the initial step in a series of trials related to sexual assault charges spanning several decades in both Canada and the United States.
Jury selection is scheduled for the upcoming week, with the prosecution set to present evidence starting on September 26.
Nygaard, an 82-year-old Finnish-Canadian, has been held in prison since his arrest in December 2020. He is facing charges of alleged sexual assaults and forcible confinement involving multiple individuals between 1987 and 2006 in Canada’s largest city.
Similar charges have been brought against him in Quebec and Manitoba, and he is also facing extradition to the United States. In the U.S., he stands accused of raping numerous women and girls, as well as charges of racketeering and trafficking.
Nygaard, recognized for his distinctive appearance, which includes long gray hair, has vehemently denied all accusations through his legal team.
Reports from the Toronto courtroom describe him arriving in a wheelchair and appearing frail.
At the time of the Toronto charges in October 2021, Nygard was already contesting a U.S. extradition request. Subsequently, Quebec and Manitoba filed charges against him.
In the United States, numerous women and girls, often from disadvantaged backgrounds or with histories of abuse, have accused him of grooming and enticing them to his luxurious estates under the guise of lucrative modeling opportunities.
According to the U.S. indictment, these alleged crimes occurred between 1990 and 2020. Nygard and his associates, including employees of his group, are alleged to have used force, fraud, and coercion to engage in sexual activities with women and minors.
Peter Nygard, founder of the women’s clothing company Nygard International, has long touted his journey from humble beginnings as a young immigrant to building a fashion empire with nearly 170 stores at its peak.
However, his company filed for bankruptcy shortly after the FBI and police raided Nygard’s Manhattan corporate headquarters in 2020.
U.S. court documents reveal that corporate funds were allegedly used to host dinner parties, poker games, and «pamper parties,» during which minor girls were reportedly drugged, and women were assaulted if they resisted Nygard’s advances.
Attendees were frequently photographed, and their personal information, including weight and physical measurements, was documented.
Nygard also allegedly used corporate accounts to cover victims’ travel, living expenses, plastic surgery, abortions, and child support, according to American prosecutors.