By Biodun Busari
Controversial American-British online influencer, Andrew Tate has been arrested and detained in Romania over rape and human trafficking allegations.
Tate and his brother, Tristan were apprehended after the former’s house was raided in Bucharest on Thursday, BBC said.
The former kickboxer became popular in 2016 when he was removed from the British TV show Big Brother over a video which appeared to show him attacking a woman.
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He went on to gain notoriety online, with Twitter banning him for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He was later reinstated.
Despite social media bans he gained popularity, particularly among young men, by promoting an ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle.
He regularly appeared in videos with a fleet of expensive sports cars, on private jets, and enjoying expensive holidays.
As a part of an investigation into the allegations of rape, human trafficking and forming an organised crime group, a spokesperson for the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said prosecutors had applied to detain Tate at a “detention centre” for an additional 30 days.
A judge will rule on the application today, the spokesperson added. The brothers have been under investigation since April alongside two Romanian nationals.
“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,” DIICOT said in a statement.
Video on social media showed Tate and his brother being led away from a luxury villa.
A spokesperson for Tate told the Daily Mirror that he could not provide details relating to the arrest. “However, Andrew and Tristan Tate have the utmost respect for the Romanian authorities and will always assist and help in any way they can,” he added.
Later, a tweet was sent from Tate’s Twitter account suggesting the 1999 movie The Matrix, a film he regularly refers to in his posts.
“The Matrix sent their agents,” the post said.
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