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Far-right influencer Andrew Tate and his brother were reportedly detained in Romania on Thursday as part of an investigation into human trafficking, Semafor and Romanian media out Libertatea report.
Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said in a release on Thursday that two unnamed British citizens, as well as two Romanians, were detained for 24 hours for questioning as part of an investigation into women allegedly being lured into marriages, abused, then coerced into performing in exploitative online pornography videos.
Libertatea, citing “judicial sources,” named the two British citizens as Andrew and Tristan Tate, and said they were being investigated for human trafficking and rape.
The Independent has contacted the Romanian police for comment.
“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,” prosecutors said of the searches, Reuters reports. “They would have gained important sums of money.”
The investigation reportedly targeted five homes tied to four suspects, who allegedly held six women captive at various locations around Bucharest, The Daily Beast reports, citing local media.
One of the Romanian suspects in the sweep is a former Bucharest police officer who is dating one of the Tates, according to the outlet.
An unverified video spread widely on social media appearing to show Mr Tate being arrested.
“We cannot provide any details at the moment regarding alleged reports that they have been detained; however, Andrew and Tristan Tate have the utmost respect for the Romanian authorities and will always assist and help in any way they can,” a spokesperson for the Tates told The Independent.
Footage obtained by Romanian outlet Gândul shows officers moving through a luxury home, where guns and expensive cars can be seen.
In April, Romanian police raided Mr Tate’s home as part of a human trafficking investigation, on reports a woman was being held at the Tates’s home.
As the investigation continued, police began to look into “crimes of human trafficking and rape,” The Daily Beast reports.
“No girls were found in my house, and nobody was arrested,” Tristan Tate told the outlet at the time.
In an Instagram photo posted after the raid, Andrew Tate appeared to address the allegations, writing in a caption, “Officer…l think we can all agree that b****es love to lie.”
In 2016, Andrew Tate, a former kickboxer, was ejected from the reality TV show Big Brother, after video emerged of him hitting a woman with a belt, and a second clip showed him telling the woman to count the bruises he had left on her body.
Mr Tate and the woman in the clip both denied any abuse had taken place, describing the encounter as a consensual sexual activity, The Guardian reports.
The former kick boxer gained a large following of men online, and has been banned from various social media sites, for his aggressive and oftentimes misogynistic views, including that women should “shut the f**k up, have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee”.
Earlier this week, climate activist Greta Thunberg went viral for mocking Mr Tate, who tagged Ms Thunberg in a post bragging about the carbon emissions of his various sports cars.