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What is Plácido Domingo being investigated for in Argentina?

The 81-year-old opera star has been linked to an investigation into a Buenos Aires gang thought to be involved in sex trafficking.

Plácido Domingo named in sex trafficking investigation
Tibor RostaEFE

Disgraced opera star Plácido Domingo has been linked by prosecutors in Argentina to a sex trafficking ring in Buenos Aires with ties to other criminal activities.

Last week police executed 50 raids on a criminal organisation known as the BA Group, which operates under the moniker ‘Buenos Aires Yoga School’. Reports suggest that 19 people were arrested in the coordinated law enforcement effort.

The police launched the raids after gathering evidence using a wiretap investigation which they claim uncovered Domingo making plans with members of the group. Certain broadcasters in South America have released excerpts of these recordings which they allege incriminate Domingo.

In one, the 81-year-old is allegedly in conversation with a woman called Mendy, making arrangements for a sexual encounter. The man on the recording outlines his plan to leave a dinner with his agent and other representatives to meet her in secret.

Afterwards, the woman is heard calling one of the alleged leaders of the crime ring to confirm that she has arranged a rendezvous with a man she refers to as “Plácido”.

It is not yet known if Plácido will be charged with a crime in relation to the investigation and the legal status of sex work in Argentina. There are no national laws forbidding selling sex, but the practice is restricted in many ways at a local level. In Buenos Aires, for example, there are laws against soliciting or advertising in “unauthorised places”.

More allegations of sexual misconduct against opera star

The Spanish tenor had only recently returned with a live performance tour after a flood of sexual harassment accusations in 2019. The allegations date back more than three decades to the late 1980s and were brought by more than 20 women.

Domingo has won numerous Grammy Awards and is commonly regarded as one of the finest opera singers to ever live. However allegations of sexual harassment at venues including the Washington Opera and Los Angeles Opera began to emerge and dozens of people came forward to corroborate the claims.

A report from AP found that his misconduct was an “open secret” in industry circles and he was accused of dolling out professional punishment to those who rejected his advances. Domingo refused to answer detailed questions from AP, but issued a statement.

“I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone,” he said.


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