What started as a complaint of 10 unidentified women alleging rape and sex trafficking against apparel magnate Peter Nygård has been amended to include 36 more women, who also are not named.
Monday’s 247-page filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York contains a litany of allegations. Among the many are that the Nygård Companies knowingly conspired, aided and abetted, and participated in illegal sex trafficking.
The updated filing alleges that Peter Nygård used “the guise of modeling” and other career opportunities within the Nygård Companies to “recruit, lure and entice women.” There were also multiple references to “pamper parties,” where women and underage girls were allegedly plied with alcohol and drugs or forced to engage in sex acts.
Nygård Companies-owned boats named “Yves Lauren” and “Heesen MIRAGE,” among others, were allegedly used to transport drugs, liquor and supplies to the pamper parties. The complaint alleges that Nygård kept a database of potential victims that was supported by the corporate server and by the mid-2000s there were 7,500 names of women and girls on it.
In addition to increasing the number of Jane Does in the legal filing to 46, the amended complaint spans from 1977 to 2014 or 2016, according to Lisa Haba of the Haba Law Firm, one of the attorneys working on behalf of the plaintiffs.
”I would say the patterns are different. Our initial 10 had nine Bahamians and one American. It focused on the Trafficking Victim Protection Act, which covered the last 10 to 15 years of rape and abuse. Our new allegations go way back. They’re under a different legal theory but the same essence of rape, sodomy and victimization. What we’ve noticed is — if you read through all of the allegations…the pattern of conduct changed,” said Haba, citing allegations of women being abducted, locked in rooms for days on end, raped and held captive.
Haba said, “As the decades progressed, he [Nygård] seemed to become more sophisticated in his methodology. He seemed to bring women to him instead of him seeking out women. He got more sophisticated in the way that he lured and recruited them.”
A spokesman for Peter Nygård said Tuesday, “Yesterday’s filing in the Jane Doe case marks the latest chapter in Louis Bacon’s conspiracy to destroy Peter Nygård and the Nygård Companies. The amended complaint adds additional unnamed plaintiffs who, like the earlier unnamed plaintiffs, claim to have been exposed to wrongdoing. These claims, however, are the product of a well-funded and well-documented scheme by Louis Bacon to pay women to fabricate stories about him [Nygård]. In a transparent effort to silence and destroy the reputations of those who are close to him, the amended complaint further unscrupulously attacks innocent individuals who have worked for the Nygård Companies for many years. Mr. Nygård vehemently denies these baseless allegations and looks forward to clearing his name and the names of others who have been so recklessly and falsely accused.
“The initial complaint in the matter — which reportedly was backed by a Louis Bacon-funded charity — included the assertions of several Bahamian women who claimed to have been harmed. In the weeks following the filing, The New York Times reported that two Bahamian women had been paid to invent stories about Nygård by a third woman, Richette Ross, who has since identified herself as one of the Jane Does. These two women admitted to The New York Times that they had never met Mr. Nygård, but rather were paid and convincingly coached by Ms. Ross to lie. Ms. Ross was reported to have received extensive benefits — a monthly stipend, a $5,000-per-month residence and more for doing the bidding of Louis Bacon’s agents. This conspiracy mirrors one Louis Bacon helmed 10 years ago, when he had agents find and pay women to make up stories about sex involving Mr. Nygård.”
The statement continued, “Shortly, Peter Nygård will be requesting leave to file an amended complaint in a related racketeering case he has brought against Louis Bacon. This amended complaint asserts that Louis Bacon through his vast wealth and illegal acts has orchestrated various machinations against Mr. Nygård, including yesterday’s amended filing by among other things paying witnesses to lie, coaching the witnesses on how to present their lies to attorneys and the authorities, and arranging for the media to report on those lies. Peter Nygård looks forward to exposing the details of the billionaire-backed conspiracy Louis Bacon has orchestrated for years, which sadly now counts as its victims the more than 1,400 people who worked for the Nygård Companies and relied upon those jobs to support themselves and their families.”
Nygård and Bacon have neighboring properties in Lyford Cay, an affluent area of the Bahamas. The two titans have battled in and out of court for many years.
Bacon declined to comment through a spokesman Tuesday.
Last month Nygård International Partnership filed for Chapter 15 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for protection from creditors in New York. Also last month a judge in Manitoba ordered Nygård’s group of Winnipeg-based companies into receivership.
In February, officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department raided Nygård’s Times Square offices and his California home, as part of the sexual assault investigation.
Haba declined to say what the victims are seeking in damages. “That is a work in progress. There is more on that to come,” she said.
Acknowledging Nygård’s financial problems, she said, “I believe there is a stay as to the corporate side of things based on the bankruptcy order. We are obviously still advocating for our victims. Obviously, anyone who calls us, we’re going to talk to them and see what they have to offer. And make sure that our victims are healing or are given the counseling or services that they need. That’s a big part of human trafficking cases that nobody ever talks about.”