Buenos Aires – Tango singer Carlos Gardel (1890-1935), one of Argentina's cultural icons, had a police record for fraud, Buenos Aires daily Página 12 said Monday.
Gardel changed the basic dates in his biography to hide his arrest for a con known as "el cuento del tío" (the uncle story), according to the piece by investigative journalists Raúl Torres and Juan José Fenoglio.
The con involved seeking money from the victim to pay for claiming an inheritance from an uncle living in a distant city.
After working on the story for 14 years, the reporters discovered documents containing his criminal record in Buenos Aires police reports and confirmed that the fingerprints on the documents were those of Carlos Gardel.
One of the documents they found is a record of his arrest in the town of Florencio Varela in 1904, in which the future star is identified as Carlos Gardez, born in Toulouse, France, to Berta Gardez.
Other documents from 1915 identify him as Carlos Gardel, a native of La Plata, Argentina.
In 1923, the singer received a Uruguayan passport, claiming to have been born in Tacuarembo, Uruguay.
"I'm French, born in Toulouse on Dec. 11, 1890, and I'm the son of Berthe Gardes," Gardel says in a will he wrote in 1933.
"I have no doubt that the changes in identity by Gardel have to do with his criminal record," Torres concludes.
Last September, a group of investigators announced that they found documentation confirming that the legendary tango singer was indeed born in Toulouse.
Each new piece of information about Gardel increases the legend that began with his death at the peak of his career in an air accident in Colombia on June 24, 1935.