Pizza box did not lead to Andrew Tate’s arrest in Romania, authorities say

A pizza box did not tell Romanian law enforcement the whereabouts of misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate before his arrest on human trafficking charges, officials say.

Memes and a widely shared image of Mr Tate eating from a pizza box in a social media video response to climate activist Greta Thunberg have sparked speculation the local pizzeria has given away his location.

But the arrest of the 36-year-old misogynistic social media personality and his brother on Thursday follows a months-long investigation and the “difficult job” of “gathering all the evidence”, a spokesman for the Directorate of Investigations into Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIIOCT). Ramona Bolla said The Washington Post.

The detail of a pizza box ultimately revealing its location is inaccurate, according to Ms Bolla.

“It’s funny, but no,” the spokesperson told The Associated Press.

Mr Tate and his brother Tristan Tate, both US-British citizens, were arrested along with two other people allegedly in connection with an “organized criminal group with the aim of recruiting, harboring and exploiting women by forcing them to create content pornographic intended to be viewed on specialized sites for a fee,” according to Romanian officials.

The DIIOCT said in a statement that the men had recruited women who had been subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion”, sexually exploited by members of the group and forced to perform pornographic acts intended to harvest “d ‘significant financial benefits’.

“The victims were recruited by British citizens misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love,” according to DIIOCT, which claimed the victims were recruited through a so-called “loverboy” trafficking program. .

They were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion (through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invocation of alleged debts)” and “sexually exploited by members of the group by forcing them to perform pornographic manifestations for the purpose of producing and disseminating via social media platforms,” according to DIIOCT.

The agency identified six victims.

Mr. Tate and the others charged with the alleged scheme remain in custody.

The 36-year-old former kickboxer and admitted misogynist had been removed from several social media platforms, but his Twitter account was restored to the platform under new owner Elon Musk, who reinstated previously suspended accounts.

On Tuesday, Mr Tate tweeted at the 19-year-old Swedish activist praising his car collection and asking for his email address “so I can send a full list of my car collection and their huge respective broadcasts.

She replied, “yes, please enlighten me. email me at [email protected]

His Dec. 28 response has been viewed nearly 275 million times and shared more than 670,000 times on the platform as of Dec. 31.

In a response video, Mr Tate smoked a cigar in a bathrobe while an off-camera person handed him a stack of pizza boxes from Romanian pizza chain Jerry’s Pizza.

Mr. Tate was arrested on December 29.

“[T]That’s what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes,” Ms. Thunberg replied.

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