Seagram heiress pleads guilty in ‘sex cult’ case

Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Canadian whisky conglomerate Seagram, has pleaded guilty to her role in an alleged sex trafficking operation in New York.

Bronfman, 40, was accused of using more than $100m (£77m) to fund an organisation known as NXIVM; a suspected sex cult run by a man called Keith Raniere.

Clare, the daughter of former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr, pleaded guilty on two counts; conspiracy to conceal and harbour illegal immigrants for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification, reports the BBC.

“I wanted to do good in the world and help people,” she said. “However, I have made mistakes.”

The heiress said she is “truly remorseful” for her role in NXIVM, pronounced ‘nexium’.

Six people have been accused of being involved with the group, out of which, five have pleaded guilty. Raniere is due to go on trial next month.

Bronfman was on the organisation’s executive board, and her donations to the group over the course of 15 years are thought to have been used for fake identities.

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.

Seagram was founded in 1855, and produced and and owned spirits brands such as Seven Crown, Crown Royal and Cognac maker Martell.

Seagram was broken up in 2000 with its spirits brands divided out between Pernod Ricard and Diageo.

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