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Placido Domingo’s title comes up in Argentina intercourse sect probe



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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Opera star Placido Domingo’s title has appeared in an investigation of a sect-like group in Argentina that additionally had U.S. workplaces and whose leaders have been charged with crimes, together with sexual exploitation.

Domingo, the Spanish opera singer who has confronted accusations of sexual harassment from numerous women over the past three years, has not been accused of any wrongdoing within the Argentina case.

“Placido didn’t commit a criminal offense, neither is he a part of the group, however relatively he was a client of prostitution,” mentioned a legislation enforcement official, who spoke solely on situation of anonymity as a result of the investigation continues. Prostitution isn’t unlawful in Argentina.

Legislation enforcement officers have carried out dozens of raids in Buenos Aires focusing on the Buenos Aires Yoga Faculty, which “constructed a cult round its chief” and decreased members to “a state of affairs of slavery and/or sexual exploitation,” based on prosecutors’ paperwork within the Argentine case towards the college.

The group arrange a enterprise construction that included workplaces in Argentina and the US, together with branches in not less than three U.S. cities: Las Vegas, Chicago and New York.

To date, 19 folks have been detained in Argentina, whereas not less than three suspects are thought to stay at giant contained in the South American nation and 4 are being sought in the US.

Domingo has not spoken publicly concerning the newest developments and his representatives didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Wiretaps that had been a part of the judicial investigation recorded conversations through which a person who authorities determine as Domingo spoke to a member of the group, recognized as Susana Mendelievich, about assembly up with the opera star whereas he was in Buenos Aires for a sequence of concert events in April.

The investigation into the sect has implicated folks with connections to the classical music world and who carried out with Domingo prior to now, together with Mendelievich, an Argentine pianist.

Mendelievich is alleged to be the particular person answerable for the group’s sexual exploitation actions, based on a judicial official, who additionally spoke on situation of anonymity.

In a single recording, the person recognized as Domingo talks to Mendelievich about how she will go as much as his lodge room with out being detected by his employees.

“After we depart the dinner we come individually, proper?” the person recognized as Domingo says within the recording.

Mendelievich then talks to Juan Percowicz, 84, who was the alleged chief of the group.

“He already referred to as me and arrange the deal so I can keep in his lodge tonight with out his brokers realizing,” she mentioned.

In an earlier name with Percowicz, Mendelievich implies she had beforehand met with Domingo in New York.

“Amongst different issues … Placido mentioned he may come go to us. I imply, go to us means coming to go to me as a result of he involves my home in New York, and he jogged my memory of that yesterday,” the lady recognized as Mendelievich might be heard saying within the recording.

Sexual trafficking and exploitation had been the primary sources of revenue for the group that had an estimated income of round $500,000 monthly, based on the judicial official.

The Buenos Aires Yoga Faculty had quite a few teams of girls who had been pressured to take care of sexual encounters in trade for cash, prosecutors allege. No less than seven ladies had been integrated into the group after they had been nonetheless kids or youngsters and had been sexually exploited, based on the prosecution’s paperwork.

Individuals got here from the US to Argentina to have intercourse with the ladies and investigators say ladies had been additionally transported to neighboring Uruguay and the U.S. for sexual encounters.

“The encounters supposed a observe of sexual slavery as a result of the ‘college students’ had been put on the disposal of the shoppers on the time and place they needed, for lengthy intervals of time,” based on the paperwork.

The group had ties to different well-known public figures and their names ought to turn into public as soon as indictments are made official, the judicial official added.

Along with alleged sexual exploitation, the group purportedly bought remedies, together with what had been often known as “sleep cures” that concerned giving folks treatment that will make them sleep for days at a time.

Percowicz, together with different members of the group, has been arrested underneath the order of Decide Ariel Lijo, who positioned dozens of properties and autos underneath embargo.

The group had roughly 179 college students, all of whom had been ranked in seven ranges. Advancing ranges concerned a “religious evolution” with the purpose of reaching the seventh degree that implied “everlasting reincarnation.”

So as to advance, members needed to take part in quite a few programs and perform duties, with Percowicz holding the ultimate resolution on who may advance. The method concerned socially isolating the members from their “organic household” and mates, based on the charging paperwork.

The group additionally supplied “philosophical teaching” programs via a separate firm, the B.A. Group, for individuals who had but to affix the college. These programs on topics like “private happiness” and “management” had been typically used to woo new members.

The group was beforehand underneath judicial investigation within the early Nineties however the probe was closed earlier than it reached trial.

Domingo, now 81, was considered one of opera’s largest and most profitable stars and is the one dwelling member of The Three Tenors, which included the late Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.

Domingo’s picture was tarnished in the US after greater than 20 ladies accused him, in tales revealed by The Related Press, of sexual harassment and different inappropriate conduct in encounters that came about from the late Eighties to the 2000s. Dozens extra within the classical music world informed AP his conduct was an open secret within the business.

Investigations by the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Los Angeles Opera, the place Domingo had served as common director, discovered sexual harassment allegations towards him to be credible.

The accusations and subsequent findings halted Domingo’s profession within the U.S. however he has continued to carry out in Europe and Latin America. His web site says he’s presently on tour in Mexico with performances later this month scheduled in Italy.

Related Press author Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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