One of the industry’s most powerful individuals was found guilty of sexually abusing four separate women. Finnish-Canadian businessman Peter Nygard had been working in the fashion sector for well over fifty years.
Who Is Peter Nygard?
Peter J Nygard was born Pekka Juhani Nygård in Helsinki, Finland, on July 24, 1941. He and his family moved to Canada in 1952. He enrolled at the University of North Dakota to study business administration and eventually graduated in 1964. Then, in 1967, he established what would become Nygard International: the Nygrd Apparel Manufacturing Company in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2009, he already had a flagship store in Times Square and an international headquarters in New York City. He also had a location in Toronto, Canada. He was worth almost $900 million by 2020.
However, for Nygard, things began to go south in 2020. Ten women have come forward with allegations that he sexually abused them at his Bahamas property between 2008 and 2015, and a class action lawsuit was launched against him on February 13. Two of the claimed victims refused to testify, and he settled the third case, but he had been accused of sexual assault at least three times before. The plaintiffs in this case claimed that Nygard ran a sex trafficking ring, and that some of his victims were juveniles. The Bahamian police confirmed the next day that they would be looking into four of the lawsuit’s allegations. On February 20, 2020, the FBI searched Nygard International’s New York offices.
The Net Closes
Nygard said he would resign from his position and liquidate his shares after the FBI raid, but a Canadian judge later ruled that he had not done either. Nygard International filed for bankruptcy a few days later. Nygard was detained by Canadian authorities on December 15, 2020, and extradited to the United States to face trafficking charges.
Now he’s back in Canada, and on November 12, a jury in Toronto Crown Court found him guilty on four out of five allegations that he’d trapped and attacked women in a private bedroom suite in his Toronto office. Although the fact that Nygard is now 82 and needs a wheelchair may help him get a lighter sentence, he still has two more trials in Canada ahead of him and faces the possibility of extradition to the US to face additional charges. It appears that justice will be served for at least some of his victims.