Ex-fashion mogul Peter Nygard testifying at his sexual assault trial

By The Canadian Press

Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard says the notion that any part of his Bahamas property was designed to be used for secret sexual conduct is “insane,” as he testifies in his own defence at his sexual assault trial.

Nygard, the founder of a now-defunct international women’s clothing company, is accused of using his position in the fashion industry to lure women and girls.

Some of the testimony court previously heard from complainants in the trial mentioned Nygard’s property in the Caribbean country, referred to as Nygard Cay, where he spent a lot of his time.

The 82-year-old has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in alleged incidents ranging from the 1980s to mid-2000s.

The fifth and final complainant in the trial testified last week and the defence began presenting its evidence this week.

Multiple complainants in the trial have alleged they were taken to Nygard’s Toronto headquarters under pretences ranging from tours to job interviews, with encounters ending in a top-floor bedroom suite where they allege they were sexually assaulted.

In court today, defence lawyer Brian Greenspan asked Nygard about his childhood, his family’s immigration to Canada from Finland after the Second World War and his rise in the North American fashion industry.

Greenspan also asked Nygard about his various properties in different countries. When he asked whether the Bahamas estate had a secret spot for sexual conduct, Nygard replied: “That’s insane … no such thing.”

Nygard has also testified about relationships he’s had over the decades since his divorce, telling the jury that because he travelled so much for work, he tended to be in relationships with women who could travel with him.

Nygard founded the business that became known as Nygard International in Winnipeg in 1967, and stepped down as chairman of the clothing company in February 2020 before it filed for bankruptcy.

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