Internationally-known Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard had his bid to get out of jail delayed on Wednesday when a decision on his bail request was postponed until later this month by a Manitoba judge.
He faces nine criminal charges in the Southern District of New York, including racketeering and sex trafficking.
Nygard, who was born in Finland and raised in Winnipeg, denies the charges.
Sitting in a small room, looking dishevelled, his hair tied into a bun, he appeared in court via video conference from the Headingley Correctional Centre.
At one point he pulled down a blue non-medical mask to reveal a grey moustache.
Nygard said that since his incarceration in December, he had lost weight, suffered dizziness and has numbness in his hands and toes.
“Unfortunately, I am not getting the nourishment necessary to keep me safe and healthy,” he said in an affidavit submitted to the court, adding that his unconventional health routines have included taking anti-aging stem cell shots four times a year in China and Panama.
He also described having a diet free of sugar, carbs and preservatives.
An affidavit from Nygard’s Winnipeg doctor presented to the court included a list of Nygard’s health issues including diabetes, blood pressure issues and sleep apnea.
He also has a pacemaker.
Appearing by phone, Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, argued that his client’s health will deteriorate if he remains in jail because COVID-19 is “rampant” at the Headingley Correctional Centre.
“Every day Mr. Nygard languishes there puts his life at risk,” Prober said.
Scott Farlinger, also appearing by phone and representing the Attorney General of Canada, asked for a delay and a special sitting on the matter, arguing that Nygard presented a significant flight risk.
The hearing was then adjourned and rescheduled for Jan. 19 and 20 by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Theodor Bock.
Nygard came to Canada as a child from Finland with his parents in 1952 and founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967.
As he grew his brand, Nygard International–known around the world for his flashy billboards–he gained notriety and fame for hosting lavish parties.
In February, he stepped down as chairman after the FBI and police raided his home in Los Angeles and his company’s headquarters in New York.
Prior to his arrest, he had been facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States as he came under investigation for allegations of sexual assault in various locations, including Winnipeg.
Nygard has consistently denied the allegations, blaming them on a conspiracy caused by a feud with his hedge fund billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas, Louis M. Bacon.
Fifty-seven women–including 18 Canadians–are participants in the lawsuit. Two say they were as young as 14 at the time.
The lawsuit, which was stayed in August, accuses Nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking and alleges that he used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability.
The lawsuit–filed in New York in February–also named a number of upper-level Nygard company executives, officers and directors.
With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press (Kelly Ge