By The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A Canadian fashion mogul is asking a U.S. court to dismiss a class-action lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted dozens of women.
Peter Nygard’s motion filed Wednesday in a New York court argues it does not have jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit.
Fifty-seven women, including 18 Canadians, have joined the lawsuit, which alleges that Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.
The women are asking for a trial by jury and are seeking yet-to-be determined damages.
Nygard, who is 78, has denied all allegations and blames a conspiracy caused by a feud with his billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas.
He stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police in New York City raided his offices in February soon after the lawsuit was filed.
The original lawsuit against Nygard included allegations from 10 women accusing him of enticing them to his estate in the Bahamas. Women continued to add their names to the lawsuit.
Some of the allegations date back 40 years.
In court documents, the women share stories about being brought to Nygard’s offices and properties with promises of modelling and other career opportunities. Some of the women allege they were given alcohol spiked with drugs before they were sexually assaulted.
The lawsuit contains allegations that have not been proven in court.
Nygard was once one of the richest people in Canada. The lawsuit said Nygard has an estimated net worth of about $900 million.
He started his company in Winnipeg more than 50 years ago.
Nygard says Manitoba has been his primary residence since the start of 2019. He considered Nassau in the Bahamas, where he has permanent residency, his main home from 1970 until that time.
Court documents say he is not a citizen or permanent resident in the United States and doesn’t pay taxes in New York.
Nygard also says that while New York City was described as the Nygard “world” or “corporate” headquarters, it was only done for promotional and marketing purposes.
The motion argues that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York does not have jurisdiction for those reasons.
The documents also say the women’s claims are not eligible for a class-action suit.
— By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg