Fox News reports that Andrew Tate, the 36-year-old social media star and former kickboxer, was detained by police in Romania on Thursday.
It appears that Tate and three others, including his brother Tristan Tate, were detained on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming an organized crime group.
The authorities have released a statement on the matter, saying:
The four suspects … appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing, and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost. They would have gained important sums of money.
The Daily Mail has reported details of some of the allegations.
“Prosecutors said the brothers are suspects in an alleged organized crime ring that sexually exploited at least six women, who were recruited, housed, and forced into performing pornographic videos for sale online,” the outlet reports.
The Daily Mail further reports the police as stating that Tate and the others “lured female victims using the ‘loverboy method,’ falsely professing their love and intention to marry them.”
The Daily Mail continues:
The victims were then transported to buildings in Ilfov county on the outskirts of Bucharest, where they were “sexually exploited” and forced to perform in pornographic videos for dissemination on social media, the police statement said. Cops say the suspects used “physical violence and mental coercion” to force the women to comply with their demands, including “intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts”.
Detained and released
Tate has been under criminal investigation since at least April. At one point in April, Tate was questioned by authorities for about five hours.
The detention that occurred on Thursday appears to be the latest development in this investigation. In addition to detaining Tate and the others, reports indicate that Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) raided Tate’s home. Video footage has been released of the raid, showing knives, guns, and money inside the home.
Footage also shows a handcuffed Tate being led away from his home by authorities.
It appears that Tate and the others were kept in custody for 24 hours before being released.
The New York Post and several other outlets are suggesting that it is no coincidence that Tate’s arrest comes closely after his recent internet spat with environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
The Post reports:
Tate’s arrest could have been set off by his Twitter feud with environmental activist Greta Thunberg the day prior. The controversial influencer tagged her in a post showing off his 33 cars and asked for her address so he would continue to brag that they contribute greatly to pollution.
The Post goes on to explain:
Tate asks a person off-screen to hand him two boxes of pizza but reminds them not to recycle it in an effort to further taunt Thunberg. The boxes had Romanian type on the sides, potentially letting officials know he was in the country.