Two daughters of the late philanthropist Edgar Bronfman were named in a New York Times investigative story about a shadowy upstate New York group in which female members were branded to enforce loyalty to its leader.
It was unclear if Sara and Clare Bronfman underwent the painful procedure that burned a symbol into the bodies of some members of the group, known as Nxivm.
Sara Bronfman, 41, has reportedly poured millions of her family’s fortune into the group. Clare Bronfman, an accomplished equestrian, also ran programs for Nxivm.
The sisters’ involvement in the group led by a self-proclaimed self-help guru named Keith Raniere was revealed by a blog started by a Buffalo businessman whom they sued and who is facing federal fraud charges, the Times reported.
Other members of the group described it as a sort of human bondage pyramid scheme in which members swore loyalty to a “master” and handed over embarrassing information or photos that would be released if they ever tried to leave the group.
Members were then allowed to recruit new members as their own “slaves.” New members were taken to a secret location near Albany where they agreed to undergo the branding process.
No criminal charges have been filed against leaders or members of the group, and state medical officials ruled the procedures were voluntary, the paper said.
Sara and Clare Bronfman are the youngest daughters of Edgar Bronfman Sr., a legendary figure in the Jewish communal world who died in 2013.