Seagram’s heiress embroiled in sex trafficking case

Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s fortune, has been released on US$100 million bail after being charged in relation to a trafficking case in New York.

Bronfman (pictured) and three others were charged last week by prosecutors for their involvement with an organisation known as NXIVM, run by a man called Keith Raniere, which is said to have been a front for a cult run by Raniere in which women were forced into sexual slavery.

The daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former chairman of Seagram’s, Edgar Bronfman Sr., Clare is said to have financed NXIVM and faced charges of racketeering and money laundering though she denies any wrongdoing.

Facing up to 20 years in prison, a New York judge handed her a $100m bond which was paid by her family late last week.

According to the New York Post, Bronfman sank as much as $150m into NXIVM over the course of 15 years. Her sister Sara was also once heavily involved and their father labelled the group “a cult” in 2003, saying his daughters’ involvement with the organisation was extremely distressing and led to them becoming estranged.

In a case that has received a lot of coverage in the US, the most serious and lurid details revolve around Raniere himself and the actress Allison Mack, once the star of the television series ‘Smallville’.

The pair are charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy, allegedly coercing women to joint the cult whereupon they were branded with Raniere’s initials and forced into sexual slavery.

Seagram’s was a Canadian whiskey conglomerate founded in 1855 that went on to produce and own brands such as: Seven Crown, Crown Royal, Golden wine cooler and Cognac maker Martell. It was broken up in 2000 with its liquor brands parcelled out between Pernod Ricard and Diageo.

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