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TOM LEONARD: Prince Andrew and the OTHER orgy island

He was a super-vain fashion tycoon famous for his flamboyant outfits, so the extent of Peter Nygard’s downfall was painfully clear as he shuffled into a Canadian courtroom in shackles on Tuesday.

He was dressed in a grey sweatshirt and prison-issue tracksuit trousers, his trademark flowing mane of grey hair scraped back into an untidy bun.

The Finnish-born retail mogul’s emotions were difficult to gauge behind his white face mask as a prosecutor in Winnipeg detailed why he should be extradited to the U.S. to face charges that he sexually assaulted dozens of teenage girls and women for decades at his sprawling Bahamas and Los Angeles homes.

As 79-year-old Nygard, who has previously denied allegations of sex trafficking and racketeering against him, languished behind bars yesterday, he cannot be the only one deeply regretting his arrest.

Pictured: Peter Nygard, 79, is seen partying with girls in his own private nightclub in his Bahamas home in 2007

For of course, he is not the only multi-millionaire in recent years to be charged with turning his hedonistic Caribbean getaway into a den of paedophile iniquity. Jeffrey Epstein, whose home off St Thomas was dubbed ‘Orgy Island’, committed suicide before he could be tried in New York by the same prosecutors now pursuing Nygard.

And they had something else in common: they have both met Prince Andrew.

The Duke of York visited the Canadian businessman at his Bahamas home in 2000, shortly after Nygard settled out of court with three employees who had accused him of sexual harassment.

Amid new revelations published in the Mail this week that undermine the Prince’s account of his relationship with Epstein and with Virginia Roberts, the woman who says she was lent out for sex with him when she was 17, this twist in the Nygard scandal is the last thing the embattled Andrew needs.

There is no mention of the Prince in the U.S. case against Nygard — sources close to Andrew insist they are neither ‘friends’ nor ‘associates’ and it remains unclear how they came to know each other. But parallels with Epstein, a friend with whom the Prince chose to stay even after he had served a prison sentence for soliciting a minor, will doubtless be drawn by some.

Pictured: Prince Andrew with peter Nygard on his Caribbean island. The exact date is unknown but thought to be in 2000

Pictured: Prince Andrew with peter Nygard on his Caribbean island. The exact date is unknown but thought to be in 2000

According to New York prosecutors, since 1995 Nygard has used the power, influence and even the staff of his fashion and retail empire to ‘recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims for [his] sexual gratification and the sexual gratification of his friends and business associates’.

His targets frequently came from ‘disadvantaged economic backgrounds and/or had a history of abuse’ and through threats, financial support, drugging and false promises of modelling opportunities and other career advancement, were coerced into having sex with him and his cronies, the prosecutors say.

Nygard, who is said to be worth $900 million (£668 million), allegedly pretended some were his ‘girlfriends’ or ‘assistants’, requiring them to travel and stay with him regularly, to ‘engage in sexual activity at his direction’ and to recruit new victims for him.

According to an affidavit filed by the Canadian authorities, his victims were as young as 14 and ran into the hundreds.

The similarities with Epstein’s alleged web of abuse — vulnerable girls groomed, then trafficked around the globe on a private jet and lent out to his famous and influential friends — are so stark that the allegations could have come from his charge sheet.

Pictured: Peter Nygard with Prince Andrew's ex-wife Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson

Pictured: Peter Nygard with Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson 

In fact, the same prosecutors charging Nygard still want to question Prince Andrew about his friendship with Epstein.

Many of the sexual abuse allegations against the Finnish-Canadian businessman relate to events said to have taken place at Nygard Cay, the bizarre 4.5-acre home he built in the Bahamas in 1987.

Prince Andrew was about 40 when he visited the pleasure palace in early 2000. Although he had then been divorced from Sarah Ferguson for four years, she and their two daughters accompanied him. As with Epstein, the Prince was either ignorant of or untroubled by Nyland’s notoriety following the sexual harassment claims by his three employees.

Either way, Nyland, an inveterate social climber, made sure the visit was photographed and excitedly told a Canadian newspaper how the Yorks ‘came over’ just days after George H.W. Bush had visited.

They were given a tour of an estate just as opulent as those of their friend Jeffrey Epstein, if somewhat tackier.

What Nygard has called his ‘dream home’ is sited among palms just off the beach and consists of some 150,000 sq ft of Mayan-themed buildings including a casino, a disco hut (reportedly featuring a dancing pole and underfloor cameras), a 45-ton glass ceiling and reputedly the world’s largest sauna, a 6,000 sq ft lodge made of Canadian pine logs.

In the grounds, where peacocks wander, there are fake volcanoes that ‘erupt’ dry ice, sculptures of naked women and stone cobras that hiss steam at sunset. A group of 60ft towers are crowned with torches that staff light at nightfall.

It is ideal for the grandiose parties at which Nygard’s alleged victims say much of the abuse took place.

Who might also have attended? Nygard’s personal website has boasted of guests including Michael Jackson, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Jessica Alba and Sean Connery. There is no allegation that any of them saw or did anything improper.

That said, it seems Nygard has a tendency to over-egg his celebrity connections — Connery’s widow Micheline claimed angrily that she and the James Bond star visited the Nygard compound only for ‘a very brief moment . . . just to have a look’.

And, she points out, they were far from friends, as at the time the late actor was backing an environmental group’s lawsuit against Nygard for doubling the size of his home and wrecking a nearby beach.

According to New York prosecutors, Nygard — who has fathered at least ten children by eight women — would order employees to procure young girls from the poorer neighbourhoods of the island to attend events at his home.

They would be invited to ‘pamper parties’, often held on Sunday afternoons for female guests, with free food, drink and spa services on offer.

Nygard would pre-screen suitable guests — who would also be lured to poker games and dinner parties — by getting his staff to photograph the girls they found.

Once they were there, say prosecutors, Nygard’s existing ‘girlfriends’ would suggest to them that it was in their interest to have sex with him. Sometimes they would be given alcohol, cocaine or Ecstasy. If they agreed, he would pay them in cash afterwards.

Any who declined, including minors, might be drugged with spiked drinks and lured to a ‘more secluded area’ of the estate where, it is alleged, Nygard physically or psychologically coerced them into having sex.

He would keep his harem loyal by giving them a monthly cash ‘stipend’ or gifts such as free travel, dental work, plastic surgery, immigration assistance and even abortions.

These payments, say prosecutors, came from Nygard company funds and were often ‘thinly disguised’ by putting the girls on the payroll or passing them off as models or PAs.

He ferried girls and women around the world in his private plane to stay with him. They were allegedly put under ‘constant surveillance’ by Nygard and his confederates and not allowed to leave his properties without his ‘express permission’. He allegedly even controlled what they wore and how they styled their hair, and ‘assaulted’ those who refused his sexual demands.

Nygard also took his ‘girlfriends’ to ‘swingers’ clubs’ in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Winnipeg, where he either forced them to have group sex or swapped them with other men for their own sexual partners, say prosecutors.

These sexual ‘swaps’ also occurred with male friends and business associates, who would bring Nygard a ‘date’ in exchange for access to one of his girls. The girls were forced to comply through ‘manipulation, intimidation, degradation and threats’, prosecutors claim.

His victims, it is alleged, also served as procurers themselves, approaching underage girls in places such as Times Square in Manhattan or in Los Angeles shops, inviting them back to one of Nygard’s homes or a hotel room.

Nygard claims his impoverished family lived at first in a coal store when they moved to Canada from Helsinki in 1952. He worked his way up through the retail industry, claiming he once left Miss Sweden in his bed to go to a job interview. His wife from his only marriage claimed Nygard told her she would have only 6 per cent of his time.

In 1980, he was charged with raping an 18-year-old but the charge was dropped when she refused to testify. In the same year, a Winnipeg newspaper reported that his office there had a ‘passion pit’ with a mirrored ceiling and a couch that instantly turned into a bed.

Nygard, dubbed ‘the Canadian Hugh Hefner’, long described himself as a playboy who surrounded himself with teenage girls as ‘the source of youth’. Nygard invested heavily in stem cell research to hold back ageing and claims he’s actually getting younger.

At his Bahamas home, a 12-metre dining table would drop down to become a disco dancefloor where, on karaoke nights, he would watch scantily clad girls gyrating in front of him until dawn while he sang (I Did It) My Way.

Suffice to say that this continuing scandal, in which Nygard faces nine criminal charges, has ruined his business career. Nygard International applied for bankruptcy in March, and in April a Canadian judge allowed an accountancy firm to sell and liquidate part of a company that still had 1,450 staff and more than 6,000 retail outlets, mostly inside department stores.

Nygard resigned as chairman of his company after federal investigators raided its New York and California offices in February as part of the sex-trafficking inquiry.

Meanwhile, he is also being sued in a Manhattan court by more than 80 women who accuse him of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking at the Bahamas estate.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they come from seven countries and that the allegations date back as far as 1977.

In one of the cases, Nygard is accused of showing pornography to a 14-year-old girl before raping her, causing ‘extraordinary pain and trauma’. She said she was paid money from Nygard’s company funds in return for her silence. Another 14-year-old said Nygard gave her three pills and raped her while she was unconscious, paying her $5,000 the next day.

One accuser says she was 15 when Nygard lured her to a bedroom at Nygard Cay, ostensibly to smoke cannabis. She says he asked her to perform a depraved sex act and, when she refused, he ‘attempted to sodomise’ her and ‘then raped her vaginally’.

Nygard’s lawyers have rejected every claim in the Manhattan lawsuit as false. Instead, they have accused New York hedge fund manager Louis Bacon of paying for it ‘to inflict devastating harm on Mr Nygard and the Nygard businesses’.

The two men had a decades-long dispute about parking and noise relating to their neighbouring homes in the Bahamas.

In 2016, Cherie Blair’s law firm was hired to investigate Mr Bacon. She contacted a former employee of Mr Bacon’s hedge fund, Julian Rifat, who had been jailed for insider dealing, but nothing apparently came of the communication.

Last January, the Nygard-Bacon battle ended in a Bahamas court issuing a warrant for Nygard’s arrest for contempt of court over claims that he had illegally dredged sand from the sea floor to enlarge his beach. He has been unable to visit the islands since.

But as he sits in a Winnipeg jail cell awaiting extradition to New York with barely a comb for his flowing locks, let alone a stem-cell infusion, Peter Nygard can’t blame his neighbour for all his woes for much longer.


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