FASHION billionaire Peter Nygard has alleged a massive international conspiracy carried out by his rival Louis Bacon which involves huge criminal activities including bribing women to make false claims about his private life.
His critics say his claims, filed in court papers in the United States, are an attempt to stall a major investigation the New York Times has been carrying out for at least nine months.
The Tribune understands the US paper was on the point of publishing their exposé when Mr Nygard claimed in court documents that the Times was also involved in the Bacon-led conspiracy.
Reporters working on the Times’ investigation are believed to have interviewed around 250 people in the US, Canada and here in The Bahamas.
Many are young women said to have told similar stories about Mr Nygard and aspects of his private life.
The Tribune understands the Times had begun to forward questions to Mr Nygard to seek his response to the allegations in time for these to be included in their published report.
The details of Nygard’s claims were submitted to a New York court as part of an ongoing case between Mr Nygard and Mr Bacon where the Canadian fashion designer is arguing the US legal system has jurisdiction to determine his claims. Mr Bacon is seeking to have this matter dismissed.
In addition to Mr Bacon, included among those said to be running the campaign against Mr Nygard are Mr Bacon’s elder brother Zack, environment campaigner Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and leading Bahamian lawyer Fred Smith, QC.
Nygard’s lawyers allege: “This is an action to enjoin, and seek redress for, the conduct of defendants, in concert with others, in engaging in a pattern of illicit and illegal conduct designed to improperly influence witnesses to make false statements, file false reports, abuse process, tortuously interfere with business relations and aid and abet the dissemination of false statements ... all for the intentional purpose of damaging Plaintiffs, their business and their property…”
“For over ten years, plaintiffs and defendants have engaged in an ongoing conflict which initially arose out of a property owner dispute but has since spilled out to battle across multiple countries, now focused in the United States... Defendants have now turned their attention to attempting to improperly influence and providing false information to a prominent New York newspaper to assist them in their quest.”
“In addition, defendants have conducted other media attacks, which are often supported by fabricated and manufactured evidence, and which are often made through payments, threats, coercion and intimidation. Through the use of U.S. and foreign investigators and “guards,” defendants have created their own fake ‘witness protection programme’ to coerce witnesses to cooperate in their scheme.”
“In addition, upon information and belief, defendants have used a series of corporate gymnastics, including the improper use of not-for-profit entities, to funnel tens of millions of dollars to fund their illicit activities while presumably taking improper tax deductions.”
Mr Nygard’s latest allegations drew an immediate response from Mr Bacon.
“This filing is a move straight out of Nygard’s litigation playbook, like numerous others where he uses court documents to make outlandish, false claims,” said Mr Bacon.
“He has tried this approach numerous times, including four cases in the Bahamas in 2011 and 2012 which were all abandoned or dismissed and in a similar RICO case two years ago, also dismissed. The new filing is loaded with irrelevant and shopworn allegations designed to muddy the waters and divert attention from the fact that, like all Mr Nygard’s other lawsuits, all of which he lost or withdrew, the new RICO case is baseless.”
Mr Nygard is subject to numerous contempt orders here in The Bahamas and is in fact due in court today to be sentenced for contempt in a case centering on the theft of emails from Fred Smith’s law firm which will be represented by Julian Malins, QC, from London and Ferron Bethel.
These emails surfaced in an affidavit exhibited by lawyer Keod Smith, one of Mr Nygard’s Bahamian lawyers who represented the Canadian in an earlier contempt hearing.
Lawyers secured an injunction preventing Mr Nygard and Keod Smith from perusing, publishing or disseminating anything contained within the emails.
Mr Nygard’s New York lawyers meanwhile contacted the judge hearing the ongoing New York Nygard-Bacon row asking to amend their submission, allegedly using the same information contained in the emails covered by Keod Smith’s injunction.
Mr Nygard’s critics believe the 100-page submission entered in court this week is based on confidential information held by Fred Smith and his legal team – the names of Nygard’s accusers, investigators and the involvement of the New York Times.
Mr Nygard filed a similar claim against the investigators involved in the murder for hire plot case filed by Bacon and others against Nygard and Keod Smith in the Bahamas in 2016. The Florida state court dismissed his case, saying the Bahamas was the appropriate jurisdiction to determine the claim because those matters were already the subject of court cases in the Bahamas. Mr Nygard appealed to the Florida court of appeal and lost.
In the Bahamas his representatives, such as Sherman Brown have been found in contempt for misleading the court.
The Tribune reached out to the New York Times for comment but had received no response up until press time.