American-British media personality and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate and his brother were detained in Romania in a human trafficking investigation Thursday along with a former policewoman, according to reports.
Romanian authorities allegedly detained Tate and his brother at their luxury villa after armed police raided his residence searching for evidence related to the case in which the brothers are accused of abducting two women.
Local media reported that sources close to the investigation said the former policewoman allegedly formed a criminal group. Romanian prosecutors said the group explicitly aims to recruit and exploit girls to create and distribute pornographic clips on sites like OnlyFans.
The raid was conducted by the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT ), according to Romanian media outlet G4Media.
According to Daily Mail, DICCOT said in a news release that Romania’s police, crime, and investigation unit had raided five homes with search warrants issued in connection to an ongoing investigation into an organized criminal group, human trafficking, and rape.
The alleged victims were “recruited by two British citizens” who were later transported and housed in buildings in Ilfov county, police said.
Authorities did not name the suspects.
The women were then allegedly subjected to “physical violence and mental coercion’ and were ‘sexually exploited by group members by forcing them to perform pornographic demonstrations […] for the purpose of producing and disseminating through social media platforms,” Daily Mail reported.
Authorities reportedly detained the two brothers for 24 hours.
Tate’s reported apprehension comes a day after he filmed a video criticizing climate activist Greta Thunberg, which included a pizza box from a national chain in Romania.
BREAKING: Andrew Tate and brother Tristan arrested in Romania in human trafficking probe pic.twitter.com/b5eaZrErAb
— BNO News (@BNONews) December 29, 2022
Tate faced allegations of human trafficking in Romania in April 2022.
However, Tate reportedly said the accusations stemmed from a swatting incident where authorities accused him and his brother of obtaining large sums of money with which they bought houses, luxury cars, and cryptocurrencies, according to reports.
“I was not arrested,” Tate said. “What happened is I suffered from a case of swatting. It’s very popular with people who are large on the Internet.”
“[Police] turned up, they investigated, they realized nobody was in the house against their will, there was no crime committed […] we had to go to the police station for 45 minutes for pieces of paper, we filled them in, and we were let go,” Tate added.
According to a report from Reuters, though it has been speculated that authorities were able to confirm Tate’s location in part because of the pizza boxes featured in his response video to Thunberg, an “anti-organised crime unit representative said it was not the case that Tate’s arrest had been made as a result of the pizza boxes.”