US government seizes properties from disgraced designer Peter Nygard, who's accused of sexually trafficking dozens of women and girls

US government seizes properties from disgraced designer Peter Nygard, who's accused of sexually trafficking dozens of women and girls
·4 min read
Peter Nygard
Accused sex trafficker Peter Nygard. Phillip Faraone / Contributor / Getty Images
  • The US government is seizing five California properties owned by accused sex trafficker Peter Nygard.

  • The Canadian millionaire and fast fashion mogul was arrested last year.

  • Nygard is accused of luring women and girls to his estates to be raped by him and his friends.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The government is seizing several California properties owned by millionaire Peter Nygard, the fast fashion mogul who is accused of sex trafficking women and young girls at his estates across the US, the Bahamas, and Canada.

Federal prosecutors in New York filed notice to the court on April 29 that they were taking control of five properties in Chatsworth, Marina del Ray, and Los Angeles that belong to Edson's Investments Inc. and Brause Investments, Inc., two companies affiliated with Nygard. The filing was made public Wednesday.

Prosecutors accuse Nygard of running a decades-long sex trafficking scheme in which he lured dozens of women and minors to his properties to have sex with him, his friends, and his business partners. Investigators raided Nygard's businesses in New York City and elsewhere, and he was arrested in December in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after a federal grand jury indicted him on nine charges.

Nygard has denied the allegations against him through his attorney.

Sometimes the fashion mogul would meet the women and girls in public places, like New York City's Times Square or out in Los Angeles, according to the federal complaint. Prosecutors allege Nygard then coerced the victims to have sex either through false promises of modeling or fashion industry jobs, alcohol and drugs - including the secret drugging of victims' drinks - or physical force. Nygard would pay the victims, who he called "girlfriends" or "assistants," with cash afterward, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges Nygard invited many of his victims to dinners or parties at a Marina del Rey residence, as well as a residence in the Bahamas.

The government is seizing Nygard-affiliated properties at 9450 Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Chatsworth, 5409 Ocean Front Walk in Marina del Rey, 13700-14704 Saticoy Street in Los Angeles, 1 Yawl Street in Marina del Rey, and 17 ½ Yawl Street in Marina del Rey, according to court documents.

'Hugh Hefner of down-market retail'

Nygard, a Finland native, founded Nygard International in 1967. The company's brands include SLIMS, Peter Nygård, Bianca Nygård, Tan Jay, ALIA, Allison Daley and several private labels.

Vanity Fair once described Nygard as a hard-partying "Hugh Hefner of down-market retail."

A Bahamian island he owned, which was featured "The Oprah Winfrey Show," featured carved dragons, 60-foot ziggurats with hundreds of torches lit individually every night by his staff, and giant statues of nude women modeled on his former girlfriends, according to the magazine.

The island, was a hotspot for a long list of celebrities, former presidents, actors, and athletes. Nygard publicly talked about throwing "pamper parties," Sunday-night events where he offered everybody free spa treatments.

Women and girls forced to participate in 'pamper parties'

Dozens of women and girls who filed a civil lawsuit allege they were were forced to participate in the "pamper parties," where they performed sex acts on Nygard and others. Their attorney told Insider 10 months before Nygard's arrest that the victims were recruited as models to join Nygard at his private Bahamian island, Nygard Cay.

Girls would be flown to the 150,000-square-foot, Mayan-themed estate on Nygard's "N-Force" jet, where their passports were collected and their return flights canceled by travel agency personnel, according to the lawsuit.

In order to leave Nygard Cay, the girls needed approval from the owner himself: If they tried to leave, they were hassled by the Bahamian authorities, who received payment from Nygard, according to attorney Greg Gutzler, who represents more than 50 victims who have since come forward.

Nygard regularly invited Bahamian parliament members and law enforcement officers to his parties, according to the lawsuit, which includes photos of some officials who attended.

The lawsuit also provided more details about Nygard's abuse and the role that the fashion designer's employees played in it. It alleges the designer stored photos and contact information of thousands of women in a database that was maintained by his company's corporate IT department.

In one disturbing instance detailed in the lawsuit, Nygard is accused of showing a 14-year-old girl pornography of a man rubbing feces over a woman's body and forced her to penetrate him with a dildo. Nygard also forcibly raped the teenager, the lawsuit alleges.

"We met many victims and witnesses. They're terrified," Gutzler told Insider last year.

Gutzler alleged that Nygard had intimidated victims into silence. After filing the initial lawsuit with 10 victims, lawyers on the case heard from more dozens more, he said.

"I can't believe it's taken this long," he said at the time. "Everybody knew about this."

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