FILE - In this March 2, 2014, file photo, Peter Nygard attends the 24th Night of 100 Stars Oscars Viewing Gala at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Federal authorities on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, raided the Manhattan headquarters of the Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard amid claims that he sexually assaulted and trafficked dozens of teenage girls and young women. (Photo by Annie I. Bang /Invision/AP, File)

FBI raids Canadian fashion mogul following sex abuse claims

February 25, 2020 - 5:06 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities raided the Manhattan headquarters of the Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, a search that came amid claims he trafficked and sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls and women.

The FBI searched the designer's Times Square offices Tuesday less than two weeks after 10 women filed a lawsuit accusing Nygard of enticing young and impoverished women to his estate in the Bahamas with cash and promises of modeling opportunities.

Several plaintiffs in the suit said they were 14 or 15 years old when Nygard gave them alcohol or drugs and then raped them.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, confirmed the raid but declined to comment on the investigation.

Nygard denied the sex-trafficking claims through a spokesman, calling them “fabricated and manufactured.”

“Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared,” the spokesman, Ken Frydman, said in an email. “He has not been charged, is not in custody and is cooperating with the investigation.”

The lawsuit says Nygard used his company, bribery of Bahamian officials and “considerable influence in the fashion industry” to recruit victims in the Bahamas, United States and Canada. It alleges he plied the young women with drugs and alcohol during “pamper parties” and even kept a “database of potential victims” on his corporate server.

The lawsuit claims Nygard's victims would have their passports taken from them when they were flown into the Bahamas, and that the designer “expected a sex act before he was willing to consider releasing any person” from his estate.

Frydman said authorities also executed a “search and seizure” on Nygard's offices in California. He blamed the raids on a “conspiracy” involving Louis Bacon, the billionaire hedge fund manager who owns an estate next door to Nygard's in the Bahamas.

A spokesman for Bacon declined to comment.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Bacon has been involved in an epic battle with Nygard involving tens of millions of dollars and more than two dozen lawsuits. The newspaper described Nygard's home in the Bahamas, where the women allegedly were assaulted, as “a lush retreat with sculptures of roaring lions and a human aquarium where topless women undulated in mermaid tails."

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