Romanian authorities have thrown cold water on speculation that controversial influencer Andrew Tate’s video response in a viral exchange with climate activist Greta Thunberg helped lead to his arrest on Thursday.
Tate, a former professional kickboxer and self-described “misogynist,” was arrested in Romania along with his brother, Tristan, in connection with an investigation into human trafficking and rape.
This week, Tate initiated an exchange with Thunberg on Twitter when he tagged her in a post about his “33 cars” and asked for her email address “so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions.”
Thunberg responded to Tate in a Twitter post on December 28, writing: “yes, please do enlighten me. email me at email@example.com.”
After the tweet accrued millions of likes and resulted in a wave of additional mockery aimed at Tate, he shared a video on Twitter during which he is handed a stack of pizza boxes from the Romanian restaurant, Jerry’s Pizza. Some social media users have been speculating that the pizza boxes helped authorities track him down, but a spokesperson for Romanian authorities denied the theory while speaking to the Associated Press on Friday.
These claims are “funny, but no,” DIICOT spokesperson Ramona Bolla said, according to AP.
DIICOT, a Romanian government agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting organized crime and terrorism-related offenses, announced the arrests of four suspects—two British citizens and two Romanian citizens—in a release on Thursday.
DIICOT alleges that the British citizens recruited women, who through physical violence and mental coercion were “sexually exploited” and forced to perform pornographic acts “for the purpose of producing and disseminating through social media platforms.”
“So far, 6 injured persons have been identified who were sexually exploited by the organized criminal group,” the release said. “With regard to the crime of rape, it was noted that, in March 2022, an injured person was forced, on two different occasions, by a suspect through the exercise of physical violence and psychological pressure to have sexual relations.”
Tate and his brother were born in the U.S. but have dual U.S.-British citizenship and currently reside in Romania.
The four suspects were held for 24 hours, according to the release. Bolla confirmed to AP on Friday that Tate and his brother were among those arrested, saying that prosecutors asked a judge to approve a 30-day extension for the arrest warrant.
Tate appeared to hint at his detainment in a tweet on Friday that read: “The Matrix sent their agents.”
Newsweek reached out to DIICOT for further information and comment.