Controversial internet personality Andrew Tate and his brother were arrested in Romania on Thursday, according to their defense lawyer.
Authorities in Romania said police issued search warrants at five homes and arrested four suspects – two Britons and two Romanians – as part of an investigation into human trafficking and organized rape. They did not mention the names of any of the detainees.
Romania’s Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said the four suspects were held for an initial 24 hours. A Bucharest court on Friday demanded that the detentions be extended to 30 days, according to Reuters, which the court approved later in the day.
Andrew and his brother’s attorney Tristan Tate confirmed to CNN that a court hearing is scheduled for Friday. He stressed that Andrew Tate is not under arrest. He was not caught. “He was held for 24 hours,” said the lawyer, Eugene Vedinak.
The lawyer did not discuss any of the allegations.
DIICOT has released an edited, grainy, and sometimes out of focus video that purports to show the raids. A man can be seen being patted by the police. It is not clear who was arrested in the video.
In a separate video broadcast by CNN affiliate Antena 3, officers from the crime agency can be seen escorting Andrew and Tristan Tate in police cars.
On Friday, Andrew Tate tweeted from his verified account, “The Matrix has sent its agents.”
DIICOT alleged that the four unidentified suspects formed an organized criminal group that stretched from Romania to Britain and the United States, with the purpose of committing the crime of human trafficking.
The authorities allege that two suspects misled the victims “into believing that they intended to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship” during the transfer of the victims to Romania and later exploited them sexually through physical violence and coercion.
Authorities also said that a suspect raped a victim on two separate occasions in March 2022. At least six victims were allegedly subjected to sexual exploitation by an organized criminal group, the Interior Ministry statement said.
Andrew Tate, a former professional boxer, is known for his biting remarks online about male dominance, female submission, and wealth. He publicly advocates violence against women, and was previously banned from every major social media platform until Elon Musk restored his Twitter account after taking over the company.
He came to such prominence earlier this year that many adults, including schoolteachers, expressed concern about his misogynist ideas taking root in the minds of countless young boys. Prior to his removal, his TikTok account had around 11.6 billion views.
He made headlines this week for his Twitter interaction with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who asked Tate for a life after he tweeted about his many cars and their “massive emissions.”
There was speculation online that authorities had been alerted to Tate’s presence in Romania by the appearance of a particular pizza box in one of the photos he posted in his feud with Thunberg.
But, according to Reuters, a DIICOT spokesperson said pizza boxes did not play a role in the detentions.