Peter Nygard to remain behind bars after Winnipeg judge criticizes release plan

Nygard to remain in jail

A Canadian fashion mogul facing charges for sex trafficking and racketeering in the United States will remain behind bars after a judge expressed concerns over the plans for his release on bail.

Justice Shawn Greenberg said there were serious issues with the former executive who offered to ensure that his former boss Peter Nygard doesn’t break any bail conditions in Winnipeg.

Greg Fenske does not have property to offer as collateral. Court heard the home Fenske is offering as a place for Nygard to stay was actually purchased with the fashion mogul’s money.

"He's got no skin in the game," Greenberg said Wednesday.

Nygard, 79, was arrested last month in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act and faces nine charges in the southern District of New York.

He is seeking bail while it is decided whether he will be sent to the U.S. to face trial. Nygard’s lawyers asked the justice for more time to develop a new plan and the hearing will continue on Jan. 28.

Federal lawyers argued the seriousness of the allegations that Nygard faces in the U.S. outweigh any risk that he faces behind bars.

Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada, told court Wednesday that Nygard engaged in a decades-long pattern of using force and coercion to get sex for himself and others.

“There is a level of premeditation, co-ordination and planning,” Farlinger said.

Farlinger said Nygard’s complicated business structures leave him with the means to flee. He said Nygard has a history of not showing up to court and U.S. authorities have made allegations he has previously interfered with the administration of justice by bribing witnesses.

But Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, said his client has no intention of leaving and is too ill to travel. Nygard's lawyers argued the spread of COVID-19 in jail is putting him at risk.

They say Nygard's health has already declined since his arrest. They say he has lost weight and suffers from dizzy spells.

He has heart disease and a pacemaker, among other health issues. Nygard's lawyers said he is also struggling behind bars with his vegetarian diet and issues with sugar.

Nygard appeared in the Winnipeg courtroom by video from the correctional centre where he is being held.

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