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Peter Nygard steps down following FBI raid at Nygard fashion house
WINNIPEG -- Just hours after FBI and New York City police raided Nygard headquarters in Times Square, Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard announced he will be stepping down from his company.
The decision comes amid ongoing allegations of sexual assault, rape and sex trafficking.
In a statement to CTV News, Nygard Companies spokesperson Ken Frydman confirmed Nygard will no longer be chairman for the company and will divest his ownership interest.
The decision comes after a slew of allegations accusing Nygard of rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking of young and impressionable women and teens. The details of the allegations were outlined in a class-action lawsuit against Nygard.
Nygard's lawyer maintains the accusations are completely false. The allegations have not been tested in court.
Frydman said the accusations are a result of an ongoing feud with American investor Louis Bacon. Frydman alleges Bacon has spent millions of dollars in payoffs to women and others to make false claims against Nygard.
"Peter Nygard has decided that his legal battles with Louis Bacon will no longer be a distraction to the Companies," Frydman said. "The wonderful Nygard employees who rely upon the Companies for their livelihoods must now be the priority. Peter Nygard thanks his employees for their years of dedicated service."
Earlier on Tuesday, FBI confirmed to CTV News that officers raided the Nygard fashion house. A spokesperson with the FBI did not say if the raid was in relation to the allegations against Nygard.
In a written statement to CTV News, Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba, co-counsels for the women in the class-action lawsuit, said the news of the FBI raid is not surprising.
“Given Mr. Nygard’s pattern of alleged horrific sexual abuse over a period of decades, and spanning the globe, it is not surprising that he now finds himself under the scrutiny of the FBI," the counsels said.
"While his representatives continue to spout far-fetched conspiracy theories as his sole defense, the volume of evidence and the number of victims coming forward to hold Mr. Nygard responsible for his behavior continue to grow."
The counsels said their focus remains on the victims named in lawsuit.
MORE WOMEN COME FORWARD
Lisa Haba, one of the lawyers representing the 10 women in the civil lawsuit, told CTV News she wasn’t surprised by news of Nygard’s resignation.
“There has been a long pattern of abuse, human trafficking, rape and other horrible crimes against women and children,” she said. “Finally this is an acknowledgement of exactly what they have been saying for a very long time. This will hopefully mean his company resources stop funding human trafficking.”
Since the lawsuit was filed two weeks ago, Haba said as many four dozen women from the Bahamas, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K have come forward alleging abuse.
“Our lawsuit is bigger than just the Bahamas. Our lawsuit transcends multiple countries and we plan to be filing an immediate complaint, most likely in the very near future.”
-with files from the Canadian Press