Luxury handbag designer Nancy Gonzalez extradited to US over illegal animal leathers
A Colombian luxury fashion designer, whose handbags have been seen with celebrity stars on catwalks across the globe, has been extradited to the United States over illegal animal leather allegations.
Nancy Gonzalez, 78, was wanted for the alleged smuggling of protected animal skin purses, Colombian police said on Wednesday.
The handbag and accessory designer, whose celebrity clients include Britney Spears, Victoria Beckham and Salma Hayek, was arrested in July 2022 for allegedly importing and selling over 200 caiman- and python-skin products in the US.
Individuals were allegedly paid to bring the bags from Colombia to New York on commercial flights, and coached to lie about the provenance of the goods if asked.
Some of the skins were allegedly from species that were either protected or in danger of extinction, police official Jose Luis Ramirez said.
Ms Gonzalez was extradited to the US, along with business partner Diego Mauricio Rodriguez.
The pair is wanted in the Southern District of Florida, and Ms Gonzalez faces a five-year prison term if found guilty.
According to her website, Ms Gonzalez's bags are handcrafted in her native Cali by a team of artisans.
The site says her bags are sold at over 300 luxury retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrod's and Tsum.
Her designs were also featured in a Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York exhibition.