Controversial internet personality Andrew Tate and his brother were arrested in Romania on Thursday, according to their defense attorney.
Authorities in Romania said police had issued search warrants at five houses and arrested four suspects – two Brits and two Romanians – as part of an investigation into organized human trafficking and rape. They did not name any of those arrested.
The Romanian Directorate of Investigation into Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said the four suspects were initially held for 24 hours. It applied to a Bucharest court on Friday to extend the detention to 30 days, according to Reuters.
A lawyer for Andrew and his brother Tristan Tate confirmed to CNN that a court hearing is scheduled for Friday. He stressed that Andrew Tate was not in custody. “He wasn’t arrested. He was detained for 24 hours,” said attorney Eugen Vidineac.
The lawyer did not respond to the allegations.
DIICOT released an edited, grainy, sometimes blurry video allegedly showing the raids. A man is frisked by the police. It is unclear who is captured in the video.
In a separate video broadcast by CNN affiliate Antena 3, CID officers can be seen escorting Andrew and Tristan Tate into police vehicles.
On Friday, Andrew Tate tweeted from his verified account, “The Matrix has sent their agents.”
DIICOT claimed that the four unnamed suspects formed an organized criminal group stretching from Romania to Britain and the United States to commit the crime of human trafficking.
Authorities allege that two of the suspects “tricked the victims into believing that they intended to enter into marriage/cohabitation” while transporting the victims to Romania and later sexually exploited them with physical violence and coercion.
Authorities also said one of the suspects raped a victim on two separate occasions in March 2022. At least six victims were allegedly “sexually exploited by the organized crime group,” the DIICOT statement said.
Andrew Tate, a former professional kickboxer, is known for his viral tirades across the internet about male dominance, female submission and wealth. He openly advocates violence against women and was previously banned from all major social media platforms until Elon Musk reactivated his Twitter account after taking over the company.
He rose to prominence earlier this year, and many adults, including school teachers, have sounded the alarm because his misogynist ideas are taking root in the minds of countless young boys. Before it was shut down, his TikTok account had about 11.6 billion views.
He made headlines this week for a Twitter interaction with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who told Tate he should get a life after tweeting about his numerous cars “and their respective enormous emissions.”
There has been speculation online that the appearance of a certain pizza box in one of the photos he posted in his altercation with Thunberg alerted authorities to Tate’s presence in Romania.
However, according to Reuters, a DIICOT spokesman said the pizza boxes played no part in the arrests.