By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – A court in Toronto on Wednesday delayed proceedings on sexual assault and forcible confinement charges for Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard, as Canada’s justice minister decides whether to extradite him to the United States to face separate charges there.
Canadian police arrested Nygard, 80, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in December, 2020, at the U.S. government’s request under the countries’ extradition treaty. He consented to extradition in October to face U.S. charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Around that time, Toronto police laid their own charges.
Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti has not yet ruled on whether to extradite Nygard, or whether to do so before or after he faces the Canadian charges. Nygard has denied all allegations.
Nygard’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, appeared virtually in court and said that he was awaiting the minister’s decision, which he expects in late March. Nygard will next appear in Toronto court on March 30.
A spokesperson for Lametti could not be immediately reached.
Nygard, who did not appear in court on Wednesday, remains in jail, after a judge denied him bail in January.
Born in Finland, Nygard grew up in Manitoba, eventually running his namesake clothing companies and becoming one of Canada’s wealthiest people.
U.S. authorities accuse Nygard of using his businesses to lure women and girls in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas since 1995 to sexually gratify himself and his associates.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by David Gregorio)