By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard will not be facing charges in his hometown after an investigation into sexual assault allegations from eight people.
Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said in a statement Thursday that the investigation involved 15 files, interviews with 29 witnesses and compilation of more than 1,600 documents.
“Specialized investigators worked through 15 separate files. Some of the victims did not want to be involved in criminal proceedings,” Smyth said in the statement.
More than 17 agencies and therapy professionals were contacted as part of the investigation, he said.
Eight cases were submitted to Manitoba’s Justice Ministry for consideration, Smyth said, but prosecutors decided not to lay charges.
“We understand the courage required of any survivor of sexual assault to come forward,” he said.
“We acknowledge and respect the decisions made by justice officials, and at times by survivors themselves, not to proceed with criminal proceedings.”
Nygard, formerly the head of a multimillion-dollar clothing company based in Winnipeg, is in custody in Toronto, where he has been charged with six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement.
The charges relate to alleged assaults in the late 1980s and mid-2000s, Toronto police have said.
Nygard was first arrested in Winnipeg last year under the Extradition Act and faces nine sex-related counts in the Southern District of New York. U.S. authorities accuse the 80-year-old of using his influence in the fashion industry to lure women and girls with the promise of modelling and other financial opportunities.
The extradition request from the United States details accounts from seven alleged victims who are expected to testify in a criminal trial that their livelihoods and movements became dependent on having sex with Nygard.
Nygard has denied all allegations. He consented only to be extradited on a charge of sex trafficking.
He is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. involving 57 women with similar allegations.
Nygard founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. It grew from a partial stake in a women’s garment manufacturer to a brand name sold in stores around the world.
He stepped down as chairman after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February 2020.
Nygard International has since filed for bankruptcy.