BUCHAREST, Dec. 31 (AP) — Andrew Tate, a controversial social media personality and former professional kickboxer, has been detained in Romania on charges of human trafficking and rape, an official said Friday.
Tate, a British citizen who has previously been banned from various social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech, was seen late Thursday with his British brother Tristan in a village north of the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Detained in Ilfof area. Two other Romanian suspects were also detained.
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Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for Romania’s organized crime agency DIICOT, said the four will be detained for 30 days during the investigation after a judge extended their initial detention by 24 hours. Bolla said the decision was not final and could be appealed.
In a statement late Thursday, DIICOT said four suspects in the case had been arrested on charges of participating in an organized criminal group, human trafficking and rape.
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The agency said British citizens recruited women who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and psychological coercion”, were sexually exploited by group members and forced to engage in pornographic acts for “significant financial gain”.
The statement did not name the Tate brothers. Photos published by Romanian media appeared to show Tate being led away in handcuffs by masked law enforcement officers.
DIICOT said it identified six people who had been sexually exploited by an organized crime group and raided five homes on Thursday.
On Friday, Andrew Tate, known for expressing various conspiracy theories, tweeted that “The Matrix sent their agents,” without elaborating.
Earlier this week, Tate tweeted a video of the mountains in Romania, the eastern European country where he has reportedly lived for the past five years.
Tate was also embroiled in a war of words with 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg this week after he tweeted a picture of himself standing next to a Bugatti and boasted of owning 33 cars.
Eleven limousines owned or used by the suspect were found during the raid, police said.
Video footage of the police raid accompanying the anti-organized crime agency’s statement showed several indistinct sports cars, wads of cash and a pistol.
Bolla, from DIICOT, dismissed widespread claims in the media that Andrew Tate brandished an address on a pizza box in a video posted on Twitter earlier this week that led authorities to arrest him. She said the claims were “interesting, but not”. (Associated Press)
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