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THE BATTLE INTENSIFIES: Hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon wasted no time in responding to Sunday’s searing front-page article in The New York Times, “Ultra Wealthy Neighbors, A Feud and a Rape Case.” And his rival Peter Nygard also weighed in on the matter late Sunday via a spokesman.

The lengthy investigative article chronicled the 15-year litigious and costly battle between Bacon, 63, and Nygård, 78, founder of the moderate-priced sportswear label Nygård. The billionaires have neighboring waterfront properties in the Bahamas’ affluent Lyford Cay. The “epic battle” between the two adversaries has reportedly led to “tens of millions” and the filing of 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions.

Earlier this month 10 women, whose names have not been revealed, filed a lawsuit against Nygård alleging rape, sex trafficking and sexual assault. Some of the victims, including a few who were minors at the time, alleged they were plied with alcohol, and in some case pills by Nygård, before being raped or sodomized at “pamper” parties held at Nygård’s Mayan-inspired estate in the Bahamas. Some of the alleged victims claimed they were enticed by the prospect of modeling contracts.

Some of the New York attorneys representing those “Jane Does” claimed earlier this week that “dozens” of other victims came forward as a result of that legal action.

Sunday’s Times article reported that lawyers and investigators funded in part by Bacon offered Nygård associates such incentives as a year’s rent in a gated community and Cartier jewelry to build an abuse case against Nygård. Nygård, in turn, allegedly used his wealth to intimidate critics and to buy allies, according to The Times. He was said to have had employees sign confidentiality agreements and allegedly sued those he suspected of talking.

In what appeared to be a preemptive strike, Bacon’s team issued a statement Saturday night in response to the article: “I admire the women who had the courage to share their stories with The New York Times. I was not looking for this fight, but once I heard repeated credible reports from disgusted whistleblowers that Mr. Nygård was abusing young, vulnerable women, I could not ignore the disturbing information. I sought to help and empower them with appropriate law enforcement authorities. That is where this matter belongs.”

A spokesman for Nygård Issued the following statement on his behalf Sunday afternoon. “Peter Nygård has fought off allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him over the past decade by opportunistic women intending to feed off a billionaire benefactor, Louis Bacon, and capitalize on the #MeToo movement to intimidate and extort Mr. Nygård into also paying them.”

“The New York Times, after investigating Mr. Nygård for more than one year, has apparently arrived at the same conclusion — that women were tampered with, coerced and paid to assert false allegations against Mr. Nygård, with Louis Bacon paying them millions of dollars, buying them expensive luxury jewelry and even securing homes in gated communities at the cost of $5,000 per month in exchange for assisting in his conspiracy.”

While The New York Times stopped short of reporting the lawsuits filed against Mr. Nygård to be fraudulent, the reporters apparently found sufficient evidence to challenge the unfounded claims made by the accusers and confirm and enhance the allegations in Mr. Nygård’s RICO lawsuit against Louis Bacon, including payoffs to women to lie and payments of millions of dollars to a pair of Bahamian criminal thugs in a failed effort to ensnare Mr. Nygård in a murder for hire plot. In addition, at least two women have recanted, admitting they were paid to make up false stories about Mr. Nygård when neither of them had ever even met him.

The statement continued, “Mr. Nygård looks forward to exposing all of the decade-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy through his RICO claim against Louis Bacon (scheduled for Feb. 26) and to clearing his name through his requested dismissal of the class action (scheduled March 5th).  Nygård is also planning his pursuit of damages against those who have falsely accused him of the alleged acts, and those, including the media, who had participated along with Louis Bacon in the scheme that has now been exposed but has already damaged Nygård and his business.

RICO, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing enterprise, focusing on the leaders of an organization who committed acts, assisted in actions or ordered others to take action.”

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