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Argentine prosecutors have linked disgraced opera star Plácido Domingo to a Buenos Aires criminal group that served as a front for sex trafficking, including of minors, as well as other crimes.
Last week, police carried out 50 raids on the BA group, which operated as Buenos Aires Yoga School, and 19 people were arrested.
Many broadcasters in Latin America have aired snippets of audio recordings, obtained by wiretapping, which include the voice of a man who authorities believe is Domingo who plans with members of the alleged criminal network. The dates of these wiretapping recordings have not been made public.
Since 2019, more than 20 women have publicly filed misconduct complaints against Domingo. As a result of these accusations, Domingo parted ways with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and resigned as general manager of LA Opera in California.
In an excerpt from wiretapping tapes in Argentina, a man prosecutors say is Domingo is heard talking to “Mendy,” a woman he allegedly plans to have a sexual encounter with. On the tape, the man describes the details of his plans to leave a dinner party separately from his agents and other representatives, to escape them, so that he can meet her. Another snippet includes “Mendy” calling out the alleged leader of the criminal network, Juan Percowicz, to celebrate that she confirmed her plans with the man, whom she calls “Plácido”.
NPR reached out to representatives for Domingo for comment, but received no immediate response. NPR will update this story with any comments from Domingo.
Now 81, the Spanish-born Domingo was once one of opera’s most bankable stars and a household name around the world thanks to his appearance in the Three Tenors alongside the late Luciano. Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.
In March 2020, Domingo’s name was also removed from the Early Career Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C., where he served as Artistic Director and then General Manager from 1996 to 2011.
Domingo’s career overseas has survived allegations of sexual misconduct: he’s reappeared in recent months for performances across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, and he remains a brand ambassador. for Rolex watches.
In an admiring profile published by Deutsche Welle in January 2021 which hailed his “exceptional career”, Domingo declined to address the allegations and said he preferred “to devote himself to other challenges”.