LOS ANGELES - Controversial influencer Andrew Tate and his brother were arrested Thursday in Romania on human trafficking and rape allegations, according to local reports.
In a statement, Romania’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said local authorities raided several luxury homes linked to four suspects as part of an ongoing investigation into organized crime, human trafficking and rape.
Romanian newspaper Gândul identified the two British citizens in custody as Tate - who is known for his extreme and misogynistic comments - and his brother Tristan.
The four suspects are alleged to have kept at least six women hostage in houses around Bucharest where they were allegedly sexually assaulted and forced by violence to do pornography for social media. The victims included one with American citizenship and another woman from Moldova, Gândul reported.
Video released by DIICOT shows heavily armed police raiding the homes and recovering guns, cash, gold, and luxury cars.
The brothers are accused of luring women to lavish villas using what DIICOT called the "loverboy method," in which they used social media to begin a romance then convinced the women to come to Romania to continue the relationship.
Romanian police in April reportedly raided a mansion Tate shares with his brother there for allegedly holding two women against their will, but he was never charged with a crime. Police have since said the investigation is ongoing. Tate denied both allegations in a YouTube video posted July 19 and described himself to NBC News as a "success coach" who plays an "online character."
This comes a day after Tate made headlines as the subject of a fiery comeback by climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Tate had tweeted an image of himself with a car earlier this week and directly addressed Thunberg, tagging her and tweeting, "Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions."
Thunberg clapped back a day later responding, "yes, please do enlighten me." She then shared a fake email address where he could reach her - "email@example.com."
Earlier this year, Tate - was banned from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok for violating each platform’s community guidelines.
During the peak of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Tate received backlash for tweeting women should "bare some responsibility" for being sexually assaulted, amid other widely criticized statements appearing to blame women for the abuse and harassment. Twitter had suspended his account that year but apparently seemed to return to the platform last month.