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It Called Itself a Yoga School. Prosecutors Say It Was a Sex Cult.

WorldIt Called Itself a Yoga School. Prosecutors Say It Was a Sex Cult.

Juan Percowicz was an accountant with an unusual side hobby: teaching self-help classes around Buenos Aires with a heavy dose of ancient philosophy and New Age spiritualism. He was a hit and, with donations from his followers, he built an organization known as Buenos Aires Yoga School, or BAYS.

For more than 30 years, he ran the school, which promised spiritual salvation through lectures and self-help classes.

But now, Mr. Percowicz, 85, and more than a dozen BAYS members are facing criminal charges, accused of running a “sex cult,” not a yoga school, that coerced some of its female members into prostitution and laundered the profits in real estate.

Prosecutors say the organization exploited and drugged some of its female members, forcing them to sell their bodies and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly from clients in Argentina and the United States. BAYS also ran an illicit clinic where some members were administered drugs to induce prolonged sleep, sometimes as a form of punishment, according to prosecutors.

“Cults exist here, but we’ve never seen one that operated at this level,” said Ricardo Juri, the investigator who oversaw police raids on BAYS properties in August 2022.

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