NEW YORK — Fashion mogul and University of North Dakota alum Peter Nygard’s New York office was raided by the FBI on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Nygard, a member of the UND Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, is facing allegations of sex trafficking and sexual assault in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this month. Federal investigators and the New York Police Department on Tuesday executed a search warrant on Nygard’s New York office.
A spokesman for Nygard told CNN on Tuesday that his client was “not surprised” by the warrants.
"Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared," said Ken Frydman, noting Nygard is cooperating with the investigation.
It was later announced that Nygard would step down as chairman of his company, Nygard International, and that he would divest ownership of the Winnipeg, Canada-based company, the New York Times reported.
The 10 women who filed the civil lawsuit against Nygard earlier this month claim he sexually assaulted them. Nygard has not been criminally charged in relation to the sex trafficking and sexual assault allegations.
Nygard graduated from UND in 1964, according to a Q&A conducted by UND Today in July 2019.
In a statement to the university campus, UND interim President Joshua Wynne and UND Alumni Association and Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink said they are aware of the allegations against Nygard.
“Know that UND and the UND Alumni Association & Foundation are investigating Mr. Nygard’s historical involvement with the University and Foundation. We will continue to monitor the investigation,” the statement read. “While the details of this case are not yet known and our system of justice presumes innocence, the university remains committed to eradicating sexual violence and discrimination from both our campus and society.”
Nygard was inducted into the UND Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2004. A picture of Nygard and a description of his accomplishments hangs on the wall on the second floor of the UND Center for Innovation among other award recipients.
The list of allegations against Nygard is long, national media outlets have reported.
The February lawsuit accuses Nygard of using his ties to the fashion industry to lure women by using money and drugs and the potential of a successful modeling career, according to reporting by CNN. Some plaintiffs in the suit claimed they were minors at the time of the alleged assaults.
The New York Times reported it is not the first time Nygard has been investigated by federal authorities, with investigations over alleged sex trafficking in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.