Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has begun his trial in Toronto, facing allegations of using his power and status to sexually assault five young women over several decades. Nygard, the 82-year-old founder of Nygard International, one of Canada’s largest clothing brands, has pleaded not guilty to five charges of sexual assault and one charge of forcible confinement. The prosecution has drawn comparisons between Nygard and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who faced similar accusations before his death in 2019.
During the opening remarks, prosecutor Ana Serban accused Nygard of using his wealth and influence to sexually assault young women. The victims were described as being in a state of fear, forced into sexual acts, and threatened with career ruin if they did not comply. Serban also highlighted the presence of a bedroom suite with a large bed, a bar, and doors with automatic locks controlled by Nygard at his Toronto offices.
The allegations against Nygard date back to the 1980s, and he has been held in prison since his arrest in 2020. In addition to the trial in Toronto, Nygard faces similar charges in Quebec and Manitoba. He is also facing extradition to the United States, where he has been accused of rape, racketeering, and trafficking. Nygard’s trial in Toronto is expected to last at least six weeks, followed by another trial in Quebec in 2024.
Once a prominent figure in the fashion industry, Nygard had associations with British royalty, senior lawmakers, and Hollywood stars. However, his company filed for bankruptcy protection after the FBI and police raided his Manhattan headquarters in 2020. Nygard has agreed to extradition to the United States but must first face the charges in Canada.