Clare Bronfman, 39, who allegedly helped fund controversial “self-help” group Nxivm and its leader Keith Raniere, was set to be indicted on criminal charges of racketeering conspiracy last night.
Investigators believe Raniere’s group was a front for a brainwashing sex cult, where women were even branded with the leader’s initials.
Clare Bronfman’s mother, British-born Georgiana, is now married to Chariots of Fire star Havers, 66.
Bronfman’s father was late Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr, the former CEO of beverage firm Seagram and a former associate of Sir Richard Branson.
She allegedly used part of her fortune to bankroll Raniere and Nxivm. The indictment also accuses Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren and book-keeper Kathy Russell.
It is claimed they participated in identity theft, money laundering and altering records.
This brings the total number of arrests linked to Nxivm to six, including Raniere and his right-hand woman Allison Mack — the former Smallville TV star.
Bronfman was last night set to appear in a court in Brooklyn, New York. She has hired Susan R Necheles, one of the top white-collar attorneys in the US.
The indictment against her reads: “Raniere and his inner circle, including the defendants Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell . . . comprised an organized criminal enterprise.
“The principal purpose of the Enterprise was to obtain financial and personal benefits for the members of the Enterprise by promoting the defendant Keith Raniere . . . and by recruiting new members into the Pyramid Organizations.
“By promoting Raniere and recruiting others . . . the members of the Enterprise expected to receive financial opportunities and increased power and status within the Enterprise.”
Nxivm, founded by Raniere and Salzman in 1998, was billed as a self-help group to empower women and based in Albany, New York.
But authorities have said it was a front for sex trafficking and money laundering.
They launched an investigation after former followers spoke out about disturbing practises — including branding the followers with the initials “KR”.
Raniere, 57, is now languishing in jail on sex trafficking charges and has been accused of abusing girls as young as 12.
Actress Mack, 35, is under house arrest after being accused of recruiting girls into the group.
Bronfman and sister Sara are said to have helped woo Mack when she considered joining Nxivm.
Speaking out in defence of Nxivm last year, Bronfman said: “I retired from a very successful career as a professional show-jumper because I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. Nxivm is that.
“As I said, the programs help. I am happy, healthy and financially more successful than I have ever been.”
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