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Friday, October 22, 2021

Peter Nygard consents to extradition to U.S., as he faces new sexual assault charges in Toronto

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Former Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard will be extradited to the U.S. to face sex trafficking and racketeering charges in New York, court heard, on the same day Toronto police charged him with multiple sexual assaults.

On Friday morning, lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada told Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal that Nygard, 80, has consented to committal and that he will be extradited to the U.S.

Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada, said Nygard won’t be extradited immediately.

Joyal told Nygard that he cannot be extradited for at least 30 days, he can appeal, and he can also apply for bail while the federal justice minister decides whether to extradite him.

Criminal defence lawyer Ari Goldkind said he expects Nygard will be in New York within the next 45 to 90 days, but he doesn’t believe he will be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center due to his age and health concerns.

“I do think we’ll be talking about a Peter Nygard trial sometime within the 2022 calendar,” he told CTV News Channel on Friday. 

Nygard’s lawyer Brian Greenspan said submissions will be made to the federal justice minister.

Nygard’s defence lawyers told the court that Nygard has always maintained his innocence and that consenting to the extradition will allow him to mount a defence in the U.S.

During the hearing, Nygard confirmed that he consented to the application for extradition and that he understands the significance of what he’s consented to.

U.S. authorities accuse him of using his influence in the fashion industry to lure women and girls with the promise of modelling gigs and other financial opportunities. He faces nine counts in the Southern District of New York. He has denied all allegations.

The extradition request from the U.S. details accounts from seven alleged victims, who are expected to testify at a criminal trial that their livelihoods were dependent on having sex with Nygard.

According to the request, Nygard is being charged for crimes “arising out of a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations.”

The document adds that Nygard used the influence of his international clothing design, manufacturing, and supply business, Nygard Group, to “recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims” for the sexual gratification of Nygard and his friends and business associates.

“Nygard and his co-conspirators, including Nygard Group employees, used force, fraud, and coercion to cause women and minors to have sex with Nygard and others,” U.S. authorities allege.

Nygard was arrested at his home in Winnipeg on Dec. 14, 2020 under the Extradition Act.

None of the charges have been proven in court.

On the same day as the extradition hearing in Winnipeg, Toronto police issued an arrest warrant for Nygard and announced they would be charging him with six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement involving six complainants.

The charges, which have not been tested in court, stem from alleged incidents that took place between 1987 and 2006.

Following the hearing in Winnipeg, Greenspan told reporters there that it will be up to the newly appointed federal justice minister to decide whether Nygard will have to answer to the Canadian charges before the U.S. charges.

Chris Burkett, an international lawyer at Deloitte Canada, said he expects Nygard to face the U.S. charges first.

“I think, given that the charges in New York came first and this process has been undertaken, that he would first go to the United States to face trial and then, ultimately down the road, potentially face trial on the Canadian charges as well,” he told CTV News Channel on Friday.

He added that he thinks it will be difficult for Nygard’s team to defeat the charges in the U.S.

“There’s a number of alleged victims that have come forward so he has a very, very tough road ahead and faces life in prison in the United States if he’s unsuccessful,” he said. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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