Romania’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) confirmed in a statement that cops raided five homes tied to four suspects as part of an investigation into organized crime, human trafficking and rape. It did not name the four suspects but said two were Romanian citizens and two were British citizens, who allegedly kept at least six women captive in houses surrounding Bucharest, where they were forced to produce pornography for social media under threats of violence.
Romanian newspaper Gândul was among several local outlets to identify the two British citizens as Tate, a British-American kickboxer better known for his grossly misogynistic online persona and for flaunting his 33 cars, as well as his brother, Tristan.
Reuters, as well as Gândul and Romania TV, also obtained photos and video of Tate’s arrest, showing him in a black leather jacket and hoodie being perp-walked by police in tactical gear. Tristan was filmed in the same outfit as one of the blurred suspects seen in official footage of the raids released by DIICOT.
The official footage showed heavily armed cops storming luxury homes and compiling cash, guns, bars of gold and expensive cars.
The four suspects were arrested and ordered detained for 24 hours for questioning, DIICOT said. Prosecutors later requested a 30-day hold, meaning Tate could spend New Year’s Eve in a Romanian detention center.
Romania TV reported that one of the Romanian suspects was a former Bucharest policewoman who is dating one of the Tates.
The brothers are accused of luring women to lavish villas using what DIICOT called the “loverboy method,” in which they stuck up a relationship over social media before convincing the women to come to Romania to pursue a romantic relationship.
Instead, they would allegedly keep women in a small studio where they were forced to work as pornographic models for OnlyFans and other websites, according to local news site G4.
But the scheme unraveled when one American woman managed to send her location to her boyfriend, who then alerted the U.S. Embassy that she was being held at the brothers’ home without her consent, Romania TV and Gândul reported.
When cops raided the five homes on Thursday, they found “several” women, Gândul reported, “including the woman with American citizenship, but also a young woman from the Republic of Moldova.”
DIICOT said in its statement that the victims were threatened with “physical violence and mental coercion (through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts).”
Adding insult to injury, Tate’s sad attempt to clap back at Thunberg on Thursday may have actually led police to his front door.
Police told Gândul that they relied on social media posts to figure out that the Tate brothers, who were constantly traveling out of the country, had returned to Romania.
It’s unclear which social media posts they were referring to, but in a video rant he uploaded to Twitter shortly before the arrest, in which he smoked a cigar and tried to brush off the online spat with Thunberg, he unwittingly displayed a pizza box from a local pizza chain called Jerry’s Pizza—which may have alerted authorities looking for him to his presence in the country.
The arrest caps a rough year for the former reality TV star who has previously described himself as “absolutely a misogynist.” In April, his home in Romania was raided in connection with a human-trafficking investigation. (Tate previously said “40 percent” of the reason he moved to the Eastern European country was because Romanian police were less likely to pursue sexual-assault allegations.)
Then in August, he was kicked off Facebook and Instagram, and shut down a money-making program for his followers: Hustler’s University.
After the April raid, Tristan Tate insisted to The Daily Beast that “no girls were found in my house, and nobody was arrested.”
Andrew Tate later posted a photo of himself smoking a cigar in a staged interrogation room with the caption, “Officer...l think we can all agree that bitches love to lie.”