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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Seagram's heiress gets arrested for being involved with a sexual cult

Por DamianToo

The heiress of the Seagram's liquor company and three others were arrested last Tuesday in connection with her work with a self-help organization in upstate New York that is accused of scoring some of her followers with red-hot iron and forcing them to have sex, reported El Nuevo Herald in its digital website.

Clare Bronfman, 39, the daughter of the late billionaire, philanthropist and former Seagram president Edgar Bronfman Sr., turned herself in to the FBI and pleaded not guilty to extortion charges.

She was released from prison after appearing in court Tuesday afternoon, where she promised to post bail of $ 100 million to guarantee her return to court.

District Judge Nicholas Garaufis posted bail after hearing that prosecutors thought she might flee and found that she has a net worth of approximately 200 million dollars, including an investment in a Fiji resort.

Bronfman, who appeared in court wearing sandals and a T-shirt, made no comment when he left the federal court in Brooklyn. After her release, she must remain under house arrest.

Bronfman, a former competitor in international equestrian jumping tournaments, was charged with making a series of arrangements to help NXIVM founder and leader Keith Raniere exercise control over the group's members, including stealing personal information, intercepting electronic communication and washing of money.

Raniere was arrested in Mexico this year and extradited to the United States for trial. He, along with a follower, television actress Allison Mack, is accused of coercing followers to turn them into "slaves" of higher ranked followers.

Bronfman's lawyer, Susan Necheles, called the charges "the result of government overreaching and is charged with serious crimes only because the government disagrees with some beliefs that NXIVM preached and that Clare believed."

"We are confident that Clare will be exonerated," he said.

On Tuesday also arrested Nancy Salzman, who was president of the organization for a long time, her daughter Lauren Salzman, and the organization's former head, Kathy Russell. All three were released on bail without a declaration of innocence or guilt.

Despite the criticism of ex-followers who for years described NXIVM as a cult and as a pyramid fraud, the organization came to have thousands of followers, including some with ties to Hollywood. Among them was Nicki Clyne, an actress who participated in "Battlestar Galactica"; Emiliano Salinas, son of former president of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari; and India Oxenberg, daughter of the "Dynasty" actress, Catherine Oxenberg.