The FBI and the NYPD raided the Times Square headquarters of Peter Nygard’s fashion company as part of a sex trafficking investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan said.
The searches were conducted Tuesday morning, Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, confirmed to ABC News. He declined to elaborate.
Word of the searches first was reported by The New York Times.
Nygard, 78, has been under investigation after a number of women accused him of sexually assaulting them at his Bahamas estate when they were young teens. Nygard’s Bahamas estate has been featured on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
A spokesman for the FBI’s New York field office declined to comment.
Searches usually indicate the investigation is in the early stages and not an immediate precursor to criminal charges.
The accusations were detailed in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.
“When Nygard became aware of the investigation into his sex trafficking ring, he resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery and payoffs to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme,” according to the lawsuit.
Nygard, who has denied the allegations, has also been accused of abusive labor practices and tax evasion.
Ken Frydman, a spokesperson for Peter Nygard, told ABC News in a statement, “Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared. He has not been charged, is not in custody and is cooperating with the investigation.”
Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba, attorneys for victims in the ongoing civil lawsuit, said in a statement to ABC News:
“Given Mr. Nygard’s pattern of alleged horrific sexual abuse spanning decades and across the world, it is not surprising that he now finds himself under the scrutiny of the FBI. Our focus remains squarely on pursuing justice for the countless victims who have been so viciously harmed by Mr. Nygard and his enablers.”
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