On Tuesday, Finnish-Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg. He’s facing nine charges, including sex trafficking, and authorities claim he’s sexually assaulted “at least dozens” of victims.
But royal watchers might know him for another reason: his alleged connection to Prince Andrew.
It’s been widely reported that Prince Andrew stayed at Nygard’s Caribbean estate in June 2000. At the time, Nygard would have been known primarily for being an ultra-rich business man who dated Anna Nicole Smith. Other prominent figures like Michael Jackson, Jessica Alba and former U.S. president George W. Bush have also stayed at Nygard’s enormous home. (Alba later described it as “gross,” telling reporters, “These girls are like 14 years old in the Jacuzzi, taking off their clothes.”)
British tabloid The Daily Mail recently republished a blurry photo they allege is Prince Andrew with Nygard in the Bahamas in 2000, and another of Nygard with Andrew’s then-wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie that’s “thought” to have been taken in 1997.
Whether or not Prince Andrew did stay with Nygard in the Bahamas, there’s no evidence he knew of any wrongdoing.
When contacted by HuffPost Canada to ask if Prince Andrew did in fact stay with Nygard, a representative from Buckingham Palace replied, “This isn’t something we’d comment on.”
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Nygard specifically targeted women and girls who came from disadvantaged backgrounds and who had a history of abuse. “He controlled his victims through threats, false promises of modelling opportunities and other career advancement, financial support, and by other coercive means, including constant surveillance, restrictions of movement, and physical isolation,” they said.
His crimes are alleged to include forcible sexual assault, in some cases of women who were drugged. He’s also accused of “sexual ‘swaps’ with male friends and business associates, who would bring Nygard a ‘date’ for sex in exchange for sexual access to one of Nygard’s ‘girlfriends,’” as he called his victims.
If Prince Andrew really did stay at Nygard’s compound, this would be the second millionaire friend of his who’s been arrested for sex trafficking and sexual assault of women and girls. He stepped down from his role as a senior royal after the fallout from his friendship with financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and has refused to co-operate with law enforcement investigating Epstein’s crimes.