A millionaire fashion executive accused of raping 10 women and girls at his Bahamas mansion reportedly hosted Prince Andrew and his family at the property in 2000.
A class action lawsuit lodged in New York City claims that Peter Nygard lured “young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women” to his Bahamas property with cash payments and promises of modeling opportunities, only to then “assault, rape, and sodomize them”.
Nygard, 78, has hosted celebrities and politicians at the property, near the Bahamian capital of Nassau. Photos credited to Nygard’s website appear to show such visitors included Prince Andrew, accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their two daughters, 20 years ago.
One photo shows Nygard talking with a shorts-wearing Andrew as the two stroll together. In another picture Nygard is posing with Sarah and her daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.
The link is a potential further embarrassment for Prince Andrew, who has stepped back from public duties following an outcry over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and sex offender who died in a New York cell last year as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
The prince, who has withdrawn from public life, categorically denies any form of sexual misconduct and has insisted he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency” investigating matters relating to Epstein.
Prince Andrew is not the subject of any alleged wrongdoing in connection with the proceedings against Nygard.
The Canadian businessman’s eponymous fashion empire has made him a multimillionaire. He has been previously accused of sexual harassment and tax evasion.
In 2018, Bahamian authorities seized his mansion, Nygard Cay, following a legal battle with environmental groups over plans to dredge the sea floor in order to expand the property’s size.
This latest lawsuit, lodged by US law firm DiCello Levitt Gutzler, alleges that Nygard used his powerful position, along with drugs, alcohol and physical force, to lure girls as young as 14-years-old to “pamper parties” and then rape them.
Of the 10 people cited as victims in the lawsuit, eight were teenage girls and two were adult employees on the Nassau estate. At least two of the alleged victims required medical treatment following their ordeals, the lawsuit states.
Nygard’s company is also a target of the lawsuit which accuses it of essentially committing sex trafficking by abetting and covering up the actions of its founder and chairman. Threats and bribery were used to prevent the rapes from being reported, the complaint alleges.
A spokesman for Nygard has denied the claims in the lawsuit, telling the New York Post they are “just the latest in a 10-plus-year string of attempts to try to destroy the reputation of a man through false statements. The allegations are completely false, without foundation, and are vigorously denied.”
The Guardian contacted Nygard’s company for comment and also attempted to put questions to Buckingham Palace.