Placido Domingo returns to the eye of the hurricane

The tenor Plácido Domingo in an image taken in Prague in September 2021. / EFE

The tenor could testify before the Argentine justice, which indicates him as a 'client' of a prostitution network / A member of the 'horror sect' speaks with the singer about a possible sexual encounter in court recordings

Michael Lorenci

When Plácido Domingo seemed to recover his battered image, after overcoming the veto in many theaters after being accused of harassing co-stars and abusing power, the Spanish tenor is once again the eye of the hurricane, pointed out as an alleged 'client' of a prostitution network. The leak of some audios obtained in the course of a judicial investigation opened to the so-called 'horror sect' in Argentina would link him to a plot of sexual exploitation and extortion. It is heard in a recording how the tenor presumably establishes an appointment with a woman linked to the sect in a hotel room in Buenos Aires.

Placido Domingo and his entourage remain silent. He is not accused of any crime, since the consumption of prostitution is not punishable in Argentina. But it is not ruled out that he should testify in a process that investigates the ramifications of the plot in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York. Not surprisingly, sources close to the case assure Argentine media that "it is the voice of Plácido Domingo" and highlight the "enormous amount of paper and digital documentation" that remains to be investigated.

Federal Police in Buenos Aires searched fifty homes and arrested twenty people last weekend to dismantle the so-called 'horror sect', which had the Buenos Aires Yoga School (EYBA) as its cover, opened almost 30 years in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo. According to the investigation, their leaders seized the assets of their followers and forced some women into prostitution. Among their "clients" there would be politicians, businessmen and entertainment figures who they would extort. One of them would be the 81-year-old singer from Madrid.

Judge Ariel Lijo ordered the leaked wiretaps this week in which the Spanish tenor would allegedly speak of a sexual service with a woman belonging to the sect and who is mentioned as 'Mendy', alias Susana Mendelievich, 75 years old . The recordings show that the interlocutors also deal with Juan Percowicz, an 84-year-old former notary, alleged leader of the criminal organization and who called himself "the teacher" or "the angel." In the sect it was called 'VIP geishado' or 'palomeo' at the service of sexual offers from some 'students'. According to the police, the plot had a "hierarchical and pyramidal" organization and a greased machinery for attracting resources that would launder in the real estate sector.

three recordings

Three audios have been released in which 'Mendy' is heard talking to three men. One is, presumably, Placido Domingo. The second is Percowicz and the identity of the third is unknown, according to the Argentine newspaper 'La Nación'. It has not been specified when the conversations were recorded, recorded by court order, but the newspaper recalls that Plácido Domingo performed in April at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

«Plácido said that he could come to visit us, that is to say, that he is going to come to visit me. Because he goes home to New York and he remembered it yesterday," explains 'Mendy' to Percowicz in one of the recordings. “I will have to sacrifice myself once again, I have a great vocation for service”, he adds.

In another of the audios revealed by 'La Nación', the woman makes an appointment with someone who different sources identify as Plácido Domingo. "When we leave dinner we come separately, we do it that way because my agents are going to go up to the room when I go up and they are going to stay on the same floor," says the man to close the meeting.

In the third recording, 'Mendy' explains the details of the appointment to the alleged leader of the sect: "He already called me and put together the matufia (the deception) so that I stay in the hotel without the agents realizing it." "What a degenerate you are," Percowicz replies. “It seems to me that you collaborated a little with this product,” the woman replies. «He's fucked up, Juan, I'm sorry, I don't wish him any harm, but it's so wonderful to see us shining and flying through the skies and he's fucked up. He told us everything they did to him. You are excited? I love you so much," says 'Mandy' to the cult leader.

Given the relevance of the meeting, Percowicz would have authorized the use of the so-called 'Museum', a building in the center of Buenos Aires conditioned, apparently, for sexual encounters.

Sorry

Three years ago Domingo was accused by a score of women of inappropriate behavior and abuse of power. He saw how theaters in the United States, Europe and Spain canceled his performances or banned him. The tenor denied the accusations, but the American Union of Musical Artists and the Los Angeles Opera – Domingo had directed them since 2003 and resigned from the position due to the scandal – concluded in a report that the testimonies against him were "credible" and that the tenor maintained "inappropriate behavior".

Domingo has never been charged, tried or convicted of these accusations and in 2021 he resumed his performances in Spain, reaping long and intense ovations on stages such as the National Auditorium in Madrid or the Starlite festival in Marbella, where he was acclaimed at the beginning of July.

In 2020, and after a "period of reflection", the singer apologized "for the pain" caused "to all" the women who accused him. “I have taken some time to reflect on the accusations that several colleagues have made against me. I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak up and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the pain I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions," he said in a statement.

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